On July 31, 2022, in Kabul (Afghanistan), a US drone destroyed one of the leaders of al-Qaeda, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, “terrorist number 1” after the death of Osama bin Laden. On August 2, 2022, US President Joe Biden officially confirmed the liquidation and said that there were no civilian casualties. The latter became possible thanks to the use of a very unusual version of the Hellfire missile – AGM-114R9X, also known as the “ninja missile” or “flying Ginsu” in honor of the Japanese knives of the Ginsu brand.
The AGM-114R9X, the existence of which the US government denied until 2019, got its name from the six huge meter-long blades that extend from the front of the missile before hitting the target. The Hellfire R9X has no warhead at all and destroys the target thanks to the huge kinetic energy and the blades that literally shred a person or even a car in which the target is located.
The AGM-114R9X are used to destroy VIP targets in city settings to prevent civilian casualties. It was this type of missile that killed the Yemeni terrorist Jamal Ahmad Mohammad Al Badawi in 2019, this Hellfire variant was used several times in Syria and Afghanistan against Taliban field commanders. In 2020, US government officials confirmed six episodes of Hellfire R9X use.
In the case of killing Ayman al-Zawahiri, three AGM-114R9X missiles were fired from a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone. Az-Zawahiri was on the balcony of the house at the time of the attack. No one except the terrorist was injured.
Hmm… I think I know a very good target for this “ninja missile”.