An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted drone aircraft performs aerial manoeuvres over Creech Air Force Base

  • The US has developed a secret weapon designed to eliminate terrorists without injuring/killing nearby civilians, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
  • The R9X missile is a modified Hellfire used by the Pentagon and the CIA for pinpoint strikes. If the sheer force of the missile fails to take out the target, the six long blades will finish the task.
  • The missile, known as "The Flying Ginsu" and "The Ninja Bomb," has been used in operations in at least five countries.
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The US has developed a secret missile to kill terrorists in precision strikes without harming civilians nearby, and it's already proven its worth in the field, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing over a dozen current and former US officials.

The R9X is a modified version of the Hellfire missile. Instead of exploding, the weapon uses sheer force to kill its target. "To the targeted person, it is as if a speeding anvil fell from the sky," the WSJ wrote.

What makes the weapon especially deadly is that it carries six long blades that extend outward just before impact, shredding anything in its path. The R9X is nicknamed "The Flying Ginsu," a reference to a type of high-quality chef's knife.

The missile, which can tear through cars and buildings, is also called "the Ninja Bomb."

Development reportedly began in 2011 as an attempt to reduce civilian casualties in the war on terror, especially as extremists regularly used non-combatants as human shields. A conventional missile like the Hellfire explodes, creating a deadly blast radius and turning objects into lethal shrapnel. That's why it's suitable for destroying vehicles or killing a number of enemy combatants who are in close proximity, while the R9X is best for targeting individuals.

The weapon is "for the express purpose of reducing civilian casualties," one official told reporters.

The US military has used the weapon only a few times, officials told The WSJ, revealing that this missile has been used in operations in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen. For example, the RX9 was used to kill Jamal al-Badawi, accused of masterminding the US Cole bombing in 2000, in January.

Read more: Trump confirms the US military has killed the terror mastermind behind the deadly USS Cole bombing that ended the lives of 17 American sailors

While the Obama administration emphasized the need to reduce civilian casualties, the Trump administration appears to have made this less of a priority. In March, President Trump rolled back an Obama-era transparency initiative that required public reports on the number of civilians killed in drone strikes.

Officials told the WSJ that highlighting the new missile's existence, something they argue should have been done a long time ago, shows that the US is committed to reducing civilian casualties.

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