A report by The Wall Street Journal last week revealed a secretive U.S. military weapon designed explicitly to reduce civilian casualties in targeted strikes. Unlike a traditional hellfire missile dispatched from an aerial drone, the missile variant packs no payload, no explosive. The catch? It drops 100 pounds of metal on a target, shredding them to pieces with six giant knives.
As the WSJ reports, the weapon, developed under the Obama administration, is only deployed in special circumstances. Known as the R9X, it is specifically designed for precision operations in which a normal explosive hellfire missile would result in civilian deaths.
The paper was able to confirm two operations that employed the R9X, one this January by the Department of Defense that killed Jamal al-Badawi.