Hellfire R9X missile used to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri

Tags: Science and Technology

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used its ‘secret weapon’ — the Hellfire R9X missile to kill Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri on the balcony of a safehouse in Kabul.

What is the Hellfire R9X missile?

  • It is basically a modified version of the renowned Hellfire missile which was an anti-tank weapon developed in the 1980s.

  • It was modified several times to specifically target individuals after the 9/11 attacks.

  • It is an American-origin missile developed to target individuals and cause minimal collateral damage.

  • This missile has no warhead, it deploys razor-sharp blades in the final phase of the attack.

  • It also helps it break through thicker steel sheets and lowers the target by using the kinetic energy of its propulsion.

  • The blades eject from the missile and hit the intended target without causing massive damage to the surroundings.

Why was the Hellfire R9X missile developed?

  • The main reason for the development of the Hellfire R9X missile was to reduce civilian casualties.

  • The missile was also developed to eliminate doubts about the structural robustness of a building such as the mud and thatched huts that terrorists commonly use as a hideout.

  • In January 2019, this missile was used to kill Jamal al-Badawi while Ahmed Hassan Abu Khair al-Masri was killed in February 2017.

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