Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed Monday by America’s secretive and ugly R9X Hellfire missile — which is also referred to as the “flying Ginsu.”
The strangest variant within the Hellfire household of missiles — constructed as a precision weapon of focused assassination — the R9X’s most distinguishing attribute is that it doesn’t explode and easily makes use of its weight, momentum and blade-like appendages to kill.
First revealed by the Wall Street Journal in 2019, the modified R9X trades the usual Hellfire’s explosive warhead for a halo of six steel fins that appear to be swords and are sharp sufficient to slice by means of concrete and metal on their technique to a goal.
The deadly payload has earned the R9X nicknames like “the flying Ginsu” or “the Ninja bomb” throughout the protection neighborhood.
Designed to be launched from an unmanned drone, the 100-pound R9X deploys the blades by means of its pores and skin whereas in flight.
One US official described the weapon to the Wall Avenue Journal as a “dashing anvil” falling from the sky — with knives.
To its proponents within the US protection neighborhood, the weapon’s design permits it to attenuate collateral casualties, smashing into and slicing by means of a lone goal somewhat than exploding in an increasing ball of scorching shrapnel like a standard Hellfire.
Some have even recommended the weapon — which originated through the Chilly Battle as an anti-tank missile designed to be fired from a helicopter — may kill the passenger of a automotive with out harming the driving force.
These claims haven’t been verified, and neither has the missile itself — the US authorities stays tight-lipped in public about its very existence.
The weapon’s use is normally recommended by a tell-tale entry gap and a scarcity of explosion injury.
The R9X is believed to have been used solely a half-dozen occasions because it’s improvement started in 2011. It was doubtless first fielded in 2017.
Officers have stated the weapon requires very correct intelligence exactly as a result of it’s supposedly so correct — one would want to know not merely which automotive or constructing a goal was in, however particularly the place they had been sitting or standing.