The U.S. military, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency, are reportedly developed and tested it in a Mysterious AirStrike.
The R9X is designed to shreds targets through buildings and cars with the help of six swords like large blades that deploy seconds before impact.
The devastating so-called ‘flying Ginsu’, named after a knife brand, does not have an explosive warhead to minimize civilian casualties.
Around six operations in locations such as Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and Syria are all said to have used the bladed projectile.
Abu Khayr al-Masri, the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda was reportedly killed by one of these missiles in February 2017. His car was shredded by the ‘Ninja missile’ as he drove through Idlib in northern Syria. Here are some photos from the strike’s aftermath, courtesy of former British Army officer-turned-digital investigator Nick Waters:
Anyone remember those weird strikes, probably by US forces, mostly on cars, where there didn’t seem to have been an explosive payload, but everything inside the car was very dead?
Well, here it is, a secret kind of Hellfire:https://t.co/kTx8s5r4kB
— Nick Waters (@N_Waters89) May 9, 2019
In a joint effort to reduce the potential for civilian casualties resulting from U.S. air strikes, the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency have developed this specialized variant of the ubiquitous Hellfire missile that can best be described a 100-pound flying switchblade.
Instead of exploding, it is designed to plunge more than 100 pounds of metal through the tops of cars and buildings to kill its target without harming individuals and property close by.
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) May 9, 2019
To the targeted person, it is as if a speeding anvil fell from the sky, the officials said. But this variant of the Hellfire missile, designated as the R9X, also comes equipped with a different kind of payload: a halo of six long blades that are stowed inside and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact, shredding anything in its tracks.
While the US Department of Defense reports annually on civilian casualties as a result of military operations, the CIA conducts much of its work in secret and is not subject to the mandate.
According to the report, which is based on interviews with more than a dozen accounts from current and former government officials, the weapon was born partially of the desire by former President Obama to avoid civilian casualties caused in particular by airstrikes from the CIA’s drone program.
Data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, who has been cataloguing the effects of US drone strikes abroad since 2004, in the last 15 years, drone strikes have killed between 769 to 1725 civilians with 253 to 397 of them being children.