U.S. Again Used Missile With Long Blades to Kill al Qaeda Leader

| June 26, 2020

AGM-114 R9X Hellfire

The Hellfire R9X is an AGM-114 variant that utilizes kinetic blades in lieu of an explosive warhead, intended to reduce collateral damage when targeting specific individuals.
First deployed in 2017, its existence has been public since 2019. This variant was used in the killing of Jamal Ahmad Mohammad Al Badawi, accused mastermind of the 2000 USS Cole bombing, Abu Khayr al-Masri, a member of al Qaeda’s leadership.
The weapon has also been used in Syria and Afghanistan, the latter against a commander in the Taliban.
It found a new target this month.

AW1 Rod sends.

By Eric Schmitt

WASHINGTON — American Special Operations forces used a specially designed secret missile to kill the head of a Qaeda affiliate in Syria this month, dealing the terrorist group a serious blow with a weapon that combines medieval brutality with cutting-edge technology.

American and Qaeda officials said on Wednesday that Khaled al-Aruri, the de facto leader of the Qaeda branch, called Hurras al-Din, perished in a drone strike in Idlib in northwest Syria on June 14. He was a Qaeda veteran whose jihadist career dates to the 1990s.

How he died was even more striking.

The modified Hellfire missile carried an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it hurled about 100 pounds of metal through the top of Mr. al-Aruri’s car. If the high-velocity projectile did not kill him, the missile’s other feature almost certainly did: six long blades tucked inside, which deployed seconds before impact to slice up anything in its path.

The Hellfire variant, known as the R9X, was initially developed nearly a decade ago under pressure from President Barack Obama to reduce civilian casualties and property damage in America’s long-running wars on terrorism in far-flung hot spots such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

The weapon, first described in detail last year by The Wall Street Journal, has been used perhaps a half-dozen times in recent years, American officials said, typically when a senior terrorist leader has been located but other weapons would risk killing nearby civilians.

Conventional Hellfire missiles, with an explosive warhead of about 20 pounds, are often used against groups of individuals or a so-called high-value target who is meeting with other militants. But when Special Operations forces are hunting a lone leader, the R9X now is often the weapon of choice.

American officials confirmed the use of the unusual missile in two specific instances, one by the Central Intelligence Agency and one by the military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command.

Read the rest here: MSM Link

Thanks Brother.

Category: Guest Link, GWOT, It's science!

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But wait! there’s more…


Hack Stone

Dat’s a good one. If you call in an air strike now, you’ll get the second assassination free.

5th/77th FA

“…cutting-edge technology.” Indeed! BZ! I’ll just leave this here!


It’s not a “Slap Chop”… you’re gonna love Vince’s nuts!


Needs a bayonet


It has six already – very long ones, which deploy at right angles to the missile’s long axis just before impact. (smile)


Does it spin in as well or just chop?


Pointy thing on the front. Stick it in the enemy. -Bayonet-


Per FM 3-25.150, bayonets can also be used to slash. The six on this Hellfire variant apparently are optimized to do the “slash” part quite well. (smile)


Do they have blood grooves?


I’d guess not. I don’t think blood grooves are particularly relevant to slash wounds, anyway. (smile)

Jeff LPH 3, 63-66

Now that sounds groovy.


Bayonet – pointy thing on the front.

Those things are not bayonets. Neither are sabers.


Pointy thing on the front.

The thrust is the fatal blow. The others, slash, smash, buttstroke, etc, are damage and/or distractions to create the opening for the killing thrust to vital organs.


It would interfere with both the IR
and radar sensors.

Mustang Major

Great for slicing pizza.

Hack Stone

Gives new meaning to the phrase “knife hands”.

Hack Stone

In a move to prevent further attacks, ISIS leadership has directed all subordinate units to immediately posts reading “This Is A Hellfire Missile Free Zone”.


That’s what happens when you bring a knife to a Hellfire Missile fight.

Slow Joe

Whoa whoa, one of those missiles was used by the CIA?

Is the CIA back in the business of killing America’s enemies?

Because everything they have been doing lately is muslim community outreach and golden showers.


Can I order from the comfort of my home?


“it just goes to show that America is still ahead when it comes to cutting edge technology”

(Shamelessly borrowed from a YouTube video comment) (grin)


“It slices, it dices, but you gotta hit that sucker just right!”

– Gallagher

Robert Szrama

When the man deserves it he deserves it. It was a good idea that President Obama had. In some ways it has to be more terrifying than the explosion.

The Other Whitey

Admittedly cool, but bullets are much, much cheaper. I get what aim is, but this seems extraordinarily wasteful, putting blades on a million-dollar laser-guided anti-armor missile just to kill one specific guy. How many people on earth are so bad that they’re worth this kind of expense?


If you consider the cost of putting a team in place (maybe 5 – 6 guys minimum), all the support they need and the fact that one helicopter crash could kill everybody in the mission, a million bucks for one HVT seems cheap to me.

It was no less than ‘blood-and-guts’ Patton himself who famously said “Spend ammunition like a millionaire and lives like a miser.”

I agree 1000%.

The Other Whitey

Fair enough, I suppose. I’m just hoping that practicality is still a consideration, that’s all.

USMC Steve

Just fill it with really pissed off poisonous snakes like the Krait.



You could call it the KRAit Kinetic Energy Neutralizer, and the order to launch would be….



LOL. I really enjoy that. Thanks.

5th/77th FA

Like this maybe?

Jeff LPH 3, 63-66

Does the Ginsu Knife company make these for the Mil.???

A Proud Infidel®™

Whether you cut ’em up or blow them up, dead is dead and a good terrorist…