New video footage has been posted online showing the remnants of a missile strike, and giving the closest look yet at a mysterious new weapon dubbed the ‘ninja missile’.
The footage was shared on Wednesday by security analyst Nick Waters, who specializes in investigating drone strikes for investigative team Bellingcat.
It shows the charred and shredded hull of a missile, with the letters AGM-114R9X clearly printed on the side.
The R9X, as it is known, does not explode and wields six long blades which are stowed inside, and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact to ensure that it shreds anything in its tracks.
The R9X missile is also suspected of having been used in the air strike which killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in January, catapulting Washington and Tehran to the brink of war, although this was never confirmed.
A video posted on social media on Wednesday provides the closest look yet at the R9X
The car in Wednesday’s attack was believed to be carrying Qassam ul-Urdini, from Jordan, and a Yemeni man, Bilal al-Sanaani. Both men died but the car was left remarkably intact
The impact of the six blades slashing through the roof of the car can clearly be seen
Compared to the traditional Hellfire missile, which ignites a potent blast and runs the risk of killing others within a 700-foot radius, the new missile is highly prized for its damage-limitation, the War Zone reported.
The R9X has a 100 per cent ‘deadly danger zone’ of only 30 inches.
The missile, also known as the ‘ninja missile’ or ‘Flying Ginsu’, was used in a recent precision strike on Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Syria which killed the passengers in a car, but let the car itself remarkably unscathed.
Qassam ul-Urdini, from Jordan, and a Yemeni man, Bilal al-Sanaani, both died in the June 14 attack.
The missile is so secret U.S. officials will not even officially confirm its existence.
The Pentagon is believed to have been developing the missile since 2011.
The U.S. developed the ‘ninja’ missile that instead of exploding, deploys six blades to rip through vehicles and kill its target. Its first known use was in 2017 to kill Abu al-Masri
Its first known use was in February 2017, to kill the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda, Abu Khayr al-Masri.
In May 2019, the U.S. military leaked details of the RX9 missile to improve its image in the Muslim world in an effort to show they are trying to reduce collateral damage, it was claimed.
The leak was reportedly ordered by Barack Obama after he was stung by criticism civilians were being killed in drone strikes.
In January of this year it was used in Afghanistan, in what is believed to be the a first.
The Wall Street Journal, which first broke details about the R9X in 2019, also reported that the weapon had been fired at targets in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia, as well.
The devastating so called ‘Flying Ginsu’, was reportedly used for the first time to kill deputy leader of Al-Qaeda Abu Khayr al-Masri in February 2017 (above)
Al Masri’s car also suffered the most damage toward the front passenger side, with minimal damage to the rest of the car – a trademark of the AGM-114R9X, which has reportedly been used extremely sparingly by U.S. forces
The weapon used to kill al-Masri did not break the Kia Rio windows or scratch the paintwork
Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) told Fox News the R9X was highly prized for its accuracy.
‘The Hellfire R9X missile is a modified version of the Hellfire anti-tank missile, the likes of which have been featured on America drones like the Reaper and Predator,’ he said.
‘The reference to knives is no accident, as it features multiple steel blades that emerge from the missile moments before impact.
‘The result is a much smaller kill radius, which can limit the damage caused by the missile to the intended target area.
‘Such a feature is increasingly needed for counterterrorism campaigns, where the fighting is closer-in, and the environment around the target is more dense and likely to be filled with non-combatants.’
While it is not known just how many R9X’s are tucked away in the Pentagon’s depository, military experts have been quick to highlight its efficiency, Fox reported.
Hellfire missiles may be effective, but they often endanger innocent bystanders. A new weapon, however, dive-bombs using six blades to precision-target attacks
Predator drone are unmanned vehicles that are capable of shooting missiles, conducting reconnaissance and more
The officials cited examples that the Hellfire variation has the capability of killing a passenger and not a driver, or leaving a terrorist leader dead in his house and not any relatives sitting at the same table.
Its edges are able to effectively slice through walls and roofs, according to experts.
One of these ‘inert bombs’ was consider by Obama in the operation to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, but instead a team of Navy SEALs stormed his compound in Abbottabad.
Outside of the clear human impact, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. military is also interested in the new weapon technology for more practical reasons.
Fighters have begun to adapt to drone attacks by hiding out in areas populated by children and women, putting them ostensibly out of reach from traditional airstrikes.
The R9X carries with it a set of more technical pros and cons, officials said.
Because it greatly minimizes the risk of civilian casualties entailed in traditional explosives, it increases the places it can be deployed, giving pilots more potential shots on a target.
However, the amount of precision and intelligence needed to accurately strike a target comes at a cost of additional resources from officers and military officials.