As per reports, the U.S has used a new missile
to neutralize terrorists in SyriaThe missile appears to have six spinning swords and has
ripped two jihadis who were in a van. According to multiple reports and photos of
the wreckage US forces may have used the R9X – a modified version of the Hellfire missile
for the attack in Atmeh.Reporters on the ground claim that the U.S was involved though it
is yet to be confirmed officially.One of those killed has been named in reports as jihadi
trainer Abu Ahmad al-Muhajir, from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group, formerly the
Nusra Front. In this video Defense Updates analyzes the
AGM-114R9X Ninja missile the U.S is using to take out terrorists.Let’s get started This video is sponsored by War Thunder. If
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and join the more than 20 million players from all over the world! The strike was reportedly carried out in Atmeh,
which is situated in Syria’s Idlib province. It is interesting- the city is 10 miles northwest
of Barisha, where Al Baghdadi’s compound was located. The images of the strike on the van offer
limited views of the damage, but it can be inferred that it was not hit by a traditional
warhead. There are reports that the men inside the vehicle were “mashed” inside by the impact. This is similar to the strike of 2017 that
killed Abu Khayr Al Masri, then Al Qaeda’s number two leader. Several sources reported
that AGM-114R9X was used for that attack. AGM-114R9X is a secretive initiative and there
are no official renders or specifications available in the public domain. Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon
have been closely guarding its existence. As of now, the info regarding the weapons is
mainly received from anonymous sources.The weapon seemed to be used very sparingly and
some sources including one published by Wall Street Journal claim that the U.S. military
had only fired them operationally “about a half-dozen times”. All traditional missiles have a warhead. The
warhead exploded when the missile hits the target.  This can be done by many means like
a proximity fuse which can trigger the warhead. For example, traditional AGM-114 Hellfire
air-to-surface missile used for precision strikes deploys warheads like High-explosive
anti-tank (HEAT) or tandem anti-armor Metal augmented charge (MAC) or shaped charge Blast
fragmentation. But AGM-114R9X seems to be different. The
weapon instead of using exploding warhead is though to deploy 6 long blades that extend
outward just before impact and minces its target It is dubbed as a “speeding anvil”, “Ninja
bomb” and “The Flying Ginsu” – because the blades are so sharp that they can rival a
chef’s knife. Any missile which has an exploding warhead
can cause collateral damage. But the AGM-114R9X devoid of explosive will
be able to limit the collateral damage and is suitable for extreme precision strikes. It is speculated that the R9 variant has an
entirely inert warhead to reduce the risk of collateral damage significantly and the
R9X adds blades on to it to help increase kill probability. Viewers may note that the use of inert warhead
could lead to failure especially against a moving target since the strike will have to
be absolutely accurate probably within inches.Addition of blades in all probability will increase
the margin of error and significantly improve the lethality. It is unclear if the missile’s blade spin
during the strike and if so how the mechanism works.It must be acknowledged that if it works
that way , then it an engineering marvel. AGM-114R9X will be be useful when used in
conjunction with a capable launch platform like the Reaper that can hover over potential
targets for long time. On March 9th, 2018, the US Air Force officially
retired Predator, a platform that initiated a new era of unmanned air combat.Predator
were best known for their ability to deliver precision strikes as their controllers sat
halfway around the world in small and discreet bunkers. Reaper brings in much more to the table when
compared to Predator. Predator had an endurance of 24 hours, a service
ceiling of 25,000 ft. a range of 675 mi or 1,100 km and max speed of 135 mph or 217 km/h.Reaper
has an endurance of, 27 hours, a service ceiling of 50,000 ft, a range of 1,151 mi or 1,852
km and max speed of 300 mph or 482 km/h The US Air Forces in the process of attaching
extended-range (ER) upgrade kits for almost all of the Reapers. With the ER kit, Reapers
will have an endurance of up to 42 hours without external stores. Reaper’s main sensor is the nose-mounted
MTS-B multi-spectral surveillance and targeting turret and its fuselage mounted Lynx synthetic
aperture radar.But Reaper’s pylons are very versatile and can be used to carry a variety
of tactical equipment like communications relay hops, electronic warfare pods as well
as Wide Area Aerial Surveillance (WAAS) camera arrays.The additional sensors are designed
to act in conjunction with the drone’s main sensors.The USAF has put more potent radars
onboard some Reapers.The idea is to create Ground Moving Targeting Identification (GMTI)
sensor nodes that can be dispersed around the war zone.GMTI is a radar capability that
can be used to trail moving targets on the ground over time using radar. Reaper has the ability to carry around 2,500
lbs or 1100 kg of weapons payload through its external hardpoints. The Reaper’s hard-points give it the ability
to deploy a combination of AGM-114 Hellfire, GBU-12 Paveway, and GBU-38 JDAM munitions. Reapers are known to carry out operate in
Syria and carry out targeted strikes.It is interesting to note that reports indicate
that on Nov. 22, 2019, photojournalist Rami Al Sayed saw a Reaper in the skies of Jindires
in Syria, a town in Aleppo province that is located around 6 miles north of Atmeh where
the strike was carried out.As reported, particular aircraft was carrying 4 Hellfire missiles,
a range-extending drop tank and two other pods that most likely had components for GMTI. The Reaper costs only $4,762 per hour to fly
compared to $68,362 per hour for an F-22 fighter or $169,313 per hour for a B-2 stealth bomber,
making it a much more cost-effective option. A weapon like AGM-114R9X will be suitable
for specific scenarios where a high-value individual needs to be taken out.For example,
it could have been potentially used to kill Osama Bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad,
Pakistan who was generally surrounded by family members and a hit with limited collateral
damage was required. This would have removed many complications.
First, it would have kept the U.S forces out of potently harm. Secondly, sophisticated U.S military assets
would not have to be deployed.Viewers may note that one Black Hawk was abandoned by
US special forces in Pakistan during the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on 1 May 2011. Several sources indicate that Pakistan allowed
Chinese officials to examine the Black Hawk wreckageThis helped China to develop the Z-20
which was showcased during the 5th China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin recently. Overall it can be said the R9X could be a
template for a series of weapons in future that relies on other ways instead of warheads
to take out intended targets.

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