UPDATE: After Steve Schneider brought you this information on the Hellfire R9X back in May, the CIA ramped up its usage of these bombs developed to avoid civilian casualties. Since then it has taken on the nickname, the “Flying Ginsu.” According to Popular Mechanics, the bomb has been used at least 8 times. The most recent known use was against members of Ahrar al-Sham in the first week of December. – E.J. Smith
This is a variant of the Hellfire missile called the R9X. The secret missile has no warhead and is used by the U.S. to reduce civilian casualties by using kinetic energy. A regular Hellfire missile with a warhead has a kill radius of 50 feet. The R9X has a kill radius of about 10 to 15-feet thanks to blades that flip outward just before impact. The footprint covers the interior of a vehicle, or in this case, Al-Qaeda deputy leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri’s KIA Optima as seen in the picture. You can see the blade marks from the R9X highlighted in red. It’s like dropping an anvil from the sky reports the WSJ.
The U.S. government has developed a specially designed, secret missile for pinpoint airstrikes that kill terrorist leaders with no explosion, drastically reducing damage and minimizing the chances of civilian casualties, multiple current and former U.S. officials said.
Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon have used the weapon while closely guarding its existence. A modified version of the well-known Hellfire missile, the weapon carries an inert warhead. 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.
Details about the secret weapon and its deployment were confirmed by more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials. Its development and use haven’t been previously disclosed, though its existence has been the subject of speculation.
Originally posted May 10, 2019.