Secret US missile could kill terrorist targets without explosion and with minimized collateral damage


WASHINGTON — The US government has developed a secret missile specifically designed for pinpoint airstrikes that kill terrorist leaders without exploding, significantly reducing damage and minimizing the risk of civilian casualties, several current and former US officials have said.

The Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon used the weapon while closely monitoring its existence. A modified version of the famous Hellfire missile, the weapon carries an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it’s designed to plunge over 100 pounds of metal through the tops of cars and buildings to kill its target without harming nearby people and property.

The R9X is colloquially known as the “Flying Ginsu”, for the blades that can cut through buildings or car roofs and kill the target. The nickname refers to the knives sold on television whose advertisements showed them cutting both tree branches and tomatoes. The weapon has also been referred to as the “Ninja Bomb”.

For the targeted person, it’s like a speeding anvil falling from the sky, officials said. But this variant of the Hellfire missile, designated as the R9X, is also 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 within seconds. before impact to make sure it shreds anything in its tracks.

Details about the secret weapon and its deployment have been confirmed by more than a dozen current and former US officials. Its development and use have not previously been disclosed, although its existence has been the subject of speculation.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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