It was an unexploded weapon that pointed out six blades to tear apart the target. It has been used in critical attacks carried out by US forces in 2017 and 2019.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the US government developed a secret rocket , specially designed to perform airstrikes on small targets such as destroying terrorists without causing an explosion. As a result, this weapon can minimize damage and risk of causing casualties to civilians.
Both the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon used this weapon but kept their existence secret.
This is a modified version of the famous Hellfire rocket , a weapon that carries inert inert warheads. Instead of exploding, this Hellfire missile is designed to fire more than 45kg of metal through the roof of the car and the building to destroy the target without damaging nearby people and properties. For the target, this weapon is like a mass of metal plunging down from the sky.
However, the variant of Hellfire called R9X is equipped with a different type of "explosive": 6 long blades lined up inside and activated through the missile shell to tear apart everything along the way.
Details of this secret weapon and its deployments have been confirmed by dozens of US officials and former. There are many speculations about this weapon but the development and use have never been revealed.
R9X simulation image.
R9X is only known by a group of people. It is like "flying Ginsu knife" because the blade can cut through buildings and car roofs. The nickname comes from the popular knife sold on commercial television in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In advertising, this knife can cut both branches and tomatoes. R9X is also considered a Ninja bomb.
R9X missiles were produced during President Barack Obama to avoid casualties for civilians in long-lasting US air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere. In addition to humanitarian and legal considerations, civilian casualties can reduce the support of allies and public opinion with US strategic goals.
However, officials said there is another reason for the US to develop this weapon: Terrorism is increasingly adapting to US air strikes. They hide in groups of women and children to get out of reach.
This weapon has been developed since 2011. It is considered "plan B" to destroy Al-Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden in his block in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Later, the US decided to use the task force to destroy Bin Laden.
Hellfire variants are often used to target high-value groups or targets that are close to many rebels. However, when identifying a single goal, R9X is an option.
R9X is not used very often, only deployed in a number of specific cases, especially when the target of a high-ranking terrorist leader has been determined, but if other weapons are used, there is a risk of killing civilians. evening. The US Department of Defense recently used R9X about five or six times in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.
In January 2019, the Pentagon used R9X to destroy Jamal al-Badawi, who was accused of being behind the 2000 USS Cole bombing at a Yemeni port, killing 17 US sailors.
In February 2017, the CIA launched R9X from the aircraft, destroying Ahmad Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri, an Egyptian who is Al-Qaeda's No. 2 figure, in Idlib province of Syria.
After such campaigns, many people witnessed or watched pictures that had speculated about this new weapon. Non-damaging attacks are like the usual US air strikes.
Hellfire missiles (1.5 meters longer and 45kg heavier) often leave the shell burnt, distorted, surrounded by fragments and scars on a large radius. With R9X, it does not leave such traces. Field shots after the attack on Ahmad Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri showed a rectangular hole on the roof of the car that the man was driving. There is no fire trail of an explosion. Car windshield is cracked but the wiper on the glass remains intact.
A former US official said that the R9X solved the problem of "left and right seats" for a long time. That is, theoretically, R9X can destroy passengers in a passenger seat on a moving car without harming the driver.
The process of developing this weapon is unknown. Just knowing, the R9X formation was boosted after Obama announced the policy in May 2013, setting up a new rule of using offensive power outside the war zone like Afghanistan."When acting, it must almost certainly not cause casualties to civilians," Mr Obama said .
According to a former US official, the R9X can be used when there are doubts about the structure or construction materials where the terrorist is hiding. R9X can destroy terrorists without collapsing the building and injuring others inside.
In order to use this weapon, it is necessary to have accurate intelligence about the location and things around the target. Because the R9X minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, there are more opportunities to launch this weapon, thereby reducing the number of hours the army must monitor and reducing the number of hours the aircraft is equipped with weapons to fly in the sky to track the item. pepper.
President Donald Trump in March abolished a request from Mr. Obama's time to report annually on civilian casualties during off-war air strikes. Trump also gave the CIA more flexibility in carrying out unmanned device attacks - which are not as responsive to the demands of the US military.
Two of the officials talked about this secret weapon that the US government should have acknowledged its existence many years ago. Recognizing the existence of R9X will send a message to the Muslim world that the US is particularly interested in avoiding casualties for civilians.
Sarah Holewinski, a US military adviser on how to reduce casualties in civil war, notes that if ordinary people know about weapons like R9X, they may be less cautious in avoiding risks from the war. air raid However, she thinks weapons like the R9X seem to have a lot of benefits.