Secret U.S. missile kills terrorists with knives instead of explosives

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SAN DIEGO — Ever heard of a missile that doesn’t explode?

That, theĀ Wall Street JournalĀ reports, is a key feature of a secret weapon adapted by the US military.

It’s a modified version of a Hellfire missile that hits pinpoint targets but doesn’t explode on impact, meaning reduced damage and less risk of civilian casualties.

The weapon, which theĀ JournalĀ likens to a “speeding anvil” falling out of the sky, is known as R9X. But it also has a nickname, “the flying Ginsu,” inspired by its hidden ring of six blades, which emerges just before impact and shreds anything it meets.

The missile was in development as early as 2011ā€”a similar weapon was reportedly considered in the plot to kill Osama bin Ladenā€”but so far theĀ JournalĀ has found only two instances in which it’s been used.

Essentially, the weapon is employed when a regular airstrike on a high-value target would pose a risk to innocent bystanders. Aware that the U.S. would want to avoid civilian casualties, terrorists routinely hide in places with women and children. With the R9X, the U.S. can minimize the risk.

After the CIA used the R9X to kill an al-Qaeda terrorist traveling by car in Syria in 2017, for example,Ā photos showedĀ a large hole in the vehicle’s roof, along with some cracks in the windshield. Otherwise, the exterior of the car appeared in pretty good shape.

GizmodoĀ notes rumors have been swirling about a secret weapon since that time. TheĀ JournalĀ says the R9X also was used this year to kill theĀ mastermind of the USS ColeĀ bombing. (Read moreĀ missileĀ stories.)

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