- The US has developed a secret weapon designed to eliminate terrorists without injuring or killing nearby civilians, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
- The R9X missile is a modified Hellfire missile used by the Pentagon and the CIA for pinpoint strikes. If the sheer force of the missile failed to take out the target, the six long blades would finish the task.
- The missile, known as “The Flying Ginsu” and “The Ninja Bomb,” has been used in operations in at least five countries.
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The US has developed a secret missile to kill terrorists in precision strikes without harming civilians nearby, and it has already proven its worth in the field, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing more than a dozen current and former US officials.
The R9X is a modified version of the Hellfire missile. Instead of exploding, the weapon uses sheer force to kill its target. “To the targeted person, it is as if a speeding anvil fell from the sky,” The Journal wrote.
What makes the weapon especially deadly is that it carries six long blades that extend outward just before impact, shredding anything in its path. The R9X is nicknamed “The Flying Ginsu,” a reference to a type of high-quality chef’s knife.
The missile, which can tear through cars and buildings, is also called “The Ninja Bomb.”
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) May 9, 2019
Development reportedly began in 2011 as an attempt to reduce civilian casualties in the war on terror, especially as extremists regularly used noncombatants as human shields. A conventional missile such as the Hellfire explodes, creating a deadly blast radius and turning objects into lethal shrapnel. That’s why it’s suitable for destroying vehicles or killing a number of enemy combatants who are in close proximity, while the R9X is best for targeting individuals.
The weapon is “for the express purpose of reducing civilian casualties,” one official told reporters.
The US military has used the weapon only a few times, officials told The Journal, revealing that this missile has been used in operations in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen. For example, the RX9 was used in January to kill Jamal al-Badawi, who was accused of masterminding the US Cole bombing in 2000.
While the Obama administration emphasised the need to reduce civilian casualties, the Trump administration appears to have made this less of a priority. In March, President Donald Trump rolled back an Obama-era transparency initiative that required public reports on the number of civilians killed in drone strikes.
Officials told The Journal that highlighting the new missile’s existence, something they argue should have been done a long time ago, shows that the US is committed to reducing civilian casualties.
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