The secret US Hellfire missile AGM-114R9X, which reportedly has six swing-out sword-like blades instead of an explosive warhead in the centre, has been used at least three times this year. Two of the icidents were carried in Syria on 3 and 7 December, according to a report by the Drive.
While the extent of the AGM-114R9X’s use still remains rather secretive, according to several outlets, it was reportedly used back in February 2017 to target al-Qaeda's* deputy chief, Ahmed Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri, in northwestern Syria. The pictures of his seriously damaged vehicle towards the front passenger side severely puzzled experts and the general public at the time, but now many believe that it was a ninja-like projectile that killed al-Masri.
Over the past week, the US has reportedly used a shadowy missile at least two times, with the first strike targeting a minivan in Atmeh, Syria on 3 December. Another vehicle carrying several individuals, one of whom was allegedly linked to the Turkey-backed militant group Ahrar al-Sham and possibly Daesh*, was targeted just several days later on 7 December. The footage from the scenes circulating in the media shows severe but reduced damage from a high-precision targeted strike, which many attributed to the mechanism behind the AGM-114R9X.
#Syria #Idlib— MrRevinsky (@Kyruer) December 3, 2019
Uknown warplanes have airstriked a vehicle in Atmeh, Northern Idlib.
The bodies of 2 (?) men have been mashed but the vehicle has not exploded. It's not clear then if this is the result of an #US assassination attempt with another #US R9X missile. pic.twitter.com/hiPJA2FHve
(Allegedly US) drone strike targeting a car allegedly carrying members of Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham group has killed 3 including a senior commander of Ahrar al-Sham. As per early reports, it appears the drone strike was carried out by high precision AGM 114R9X @Aviation_Intel pic.twitter.com/Znq4c3Oahx— Doc Anomaly (@kennethdockery) December 7, 2019
Secret Version of Hellfire?
Production of the original AGM-114R Hellfire variant, reportedly begun in 2010, purported to offer a multi-purpose missile capable of breaking through an increasingly hardened cover that could be applied by both piloted and unmanned platforms. The US openly acknowledged the existence of the R9B, R9E, R9G, and R9H subvariants, but never officially confirmed the existence of AGM-114R9X, which is believed to offer extreme accuracy and reduce collateral damage.
*Daesh (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State), al-Qaeda are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.