Hellfire Missile Blades R9X: Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike by US forces in the Afghan capital, Kabul. US President Joe Biden announced his death on television, saying no civilian casualties were reported in the operation over the weekend.
Hellfire Missile Blades R9X:
A senior Biden administration official was quoted by AFP news agency as saying that Zawahiri was on the balcony of a house in Kabul when he was targeted by two Hellfire missiles an hour after sunrise on July 31.
According to the official’s account, Mr Biden gave his go-ahead for the strike on July 25 – as he was recovering from Covid-19 in isolation.
However, photos from the Kabul home where Zawahiri was staying showed no sign of an explosion, pointing to the US re-use of the Hellfire R9X. Hellfire Missile Blades R9X
What is Hellfire R9X? What is Hellfire Missile Blades R9X?
Also called the “ninja bomb”, the missile has become the US weapon of choice for killing the leaders of extremist groups while avoiding civilian casualties.
The missile is fired from a Predator drone. It has no warhead, but deploys six blades that fly at high speed, crushing and cutting the target person.
That’s why it’s called “Flying Jinsu” after a 1980 TV commercial for a Japanese kitchen knife that would cut cleanly through aluminum cans and stay perfectly sharp.
SPAR19 – FlightRadar24
Some pictures posted online show the impact of these missiles. One of these old photos on Twitter claims to show a car destroyed by the Hellfire R9X in Idlib, Syria.
The Pentagon and the CIA – two agencies that conduct targeted killings – have never acknowledged the use of the Hellfire R9X missile. Hellfire Missile Blades R9X
Why are these missiles used in special cases?
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the missiles were born after former US President Barack Obama insisted on avoiding civilian casualties in US airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and other countries.
The R9X version of Hellfire is only used in specific situations, especially when a terrorist leader is identified. Its purpose is to limit damage compared to typical missiles by reducing the risk of killing innocent civilians around the target.
The report further stated that the weapon was under development as early as 2011.
Where have they been used before?
The WSJ reports, quoting US Defense Department officials, that the Hellfire missile has been used half a dozen times, including in operations in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.
The Hellfire R9X stands a little over five feet tall and weighs just over 100 pounds and doesn’t leave behind any signatures like burnt shells or matted marks.
SPAR19 – FlightRadar24
Flightradar24, the plane tracking website that offers live updates about planes in the air, stopped working briefly on Tuesday, according to a report in Independent. According to website isitdownrightnow, that report about other sites going down, Flightradar24 went offline at 12:18 Pacific Time (around 8am IST). Down Detector too confirmed that multiple users have submitted problems related to Flightradar24.