WASHINGTON, (BM) – The Pentagon has demonstrated the latest achievement in the humanization of war methods. In Idlib province, the Americans cut into pieces the leader of the local Al Qaeda, and the execution was carried out not by the executioner, but by the R9X missile launched from the drone, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Vzglyad.
Instead of explosives, the rocket is equipped with giant blades. Create it was ordered by the previous US President Barack Obama – to minimize casualties among civilians.
The American authorities and Al-Qaeda on Thursday, simultaneously confirmed: Khaled al-Auri, the de facto head of the Syrian wing of Al-Qaeda, the terrorist movement Huras ad-Din, was killed in Idlib. The death itself occurred on June 14th. At the same time, The New York Times described the method of eliminating al-Aruri as “a combination of medieval cruelty and advanced technology.”
The terrorist was eliminated with the help of the Hellfire AGM-114R9X air-to-ground missile, which is launched from the MQ-9 Reaper drones. In this modification, the inert warhead is devoid of explosives, but the hull is equipped with six powerful blades. They open a few seconds before the strike and cut through everything in its path. The mechanism for opening the knives has not yet been disclosed, and experts suggest two options: using an electric drive or due to an incoming air flow.
The basis for the flying “death with a scythe” was the Hellfire rocket, which was developed as an anti-tank missile, and in 1985 in the modification of the AGM-114A was adopted by the Pentagon as a suspended air-to-ground ammunition for helicopters. Since then, the rocket has undergone many modifications for various purposes.
Last year, for the first time it became known about the appearance of a special “anti-terrorist” version of Hellfire. According to The Wall Street Journal, the creation of the R9X rocket began in early 2011 by order of Barack Obama – to “reduce the number of casualties during the elimination of specific persons from the air.” They were planning to use a rocket with knives for the execution of Osama bin Laden, but, as you know, terrorist No. 1 was shot dead in May 2011 by US special forces.
After refinement, according to WSJ, the rocket was first used in 2017 in the same Idlib, and last year, Al Qaeda fighter Abdel-Monem al-Fathani, who was involved in the demolition of an American destroyer, was killed in Yemen with it. year. In total, as reported by the Pentagon, weapons have been used six times in recent years – not only in Syria and Yemen, but also in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq. It was usually used if during the elimination of a terrorist with standard weapons civilians who were nearby would be affected.
According to the portal “Military Review”, experts nicknamed the rocket “flying Ginsu” [according to the well-known brand of kitchen knives], but the expression “flying meat grinder” also appears on the Web. In particular, photos of the alleged R9X strike in 2017 show that the rocket pivoted the roof of the militants’ car, turning the contents of the body into a mess.
Indeed, with a mass of about 50 kilograms, the high speed and kinetic power of this rocket are sufficient “to destroy any object if it is not a concrete bunker,” said Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine. The expert believes that weapons are used not only to destroy “individuals”, as the developers say.
“Expanding blades designed for wider destruction of unarmored targets, trucks and cars, radar stations and other facilities,” Murakhovsky told the Vzglyad newspaper.
“All known cases of using this missile were successful, therefore it can be considered an effective kinetic weapon,” Andrei Frolov, expert of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, told the Vzglyad newspaper. At the same time, the new armament does not cost the Pentagon more expensive than a conventional Hellfire rocket, the source said. “Hypothetically, we can take an ordinary rocket, put an inert warhead there and just shoot it like a blank. Knives are guaranteed to whip all passengers in a car,” the RSMD expert notes.
In a certain sense, statements about the humanity of the “flying meat grinder” are justified, Frolov believes: “The risk of death of uninvolved people is sharply reduced.” True, humanity is also dictated by mercantile calculation, he added. “Last year, there were 611 cases when the Pentagon compensated individuals for damage caused by hostilities. Only about 2 million dollars”, the interlocutor noted. “On the one hand, this is not much. On the other hand, it is obvious that the use of such missiles is also a saving, partially offsetting the development costs.”
Does Russia need to create its own analogue?
With all the likely benefits, Russia is unlikely to adopt something like this, experts say. “In principle, for inertial weapons, we can even use standard ammunition – missiles or air bombs,” Murakhovsky said. “Usually they’re used like that – to defeat training targets, so as not to bomb the entire training ground at one go.” But for a real fight against militants, “blankets” are hardly effective, the expert believes.
“The approach of Americans is personalized. They believe that if they destroy the leader in a targeted manner, then an organization that they don’t like will fall apart,” Murakhovsky said. “But practice shows the opposite effect: slain leaders are declared martyrs heroes. Their image helps to lure even more supporters into the ranks of the organization.”
A similar point of view is shared by Frolov. “We do not carry out targeted liquidations of individual characters abroad,” the RSMD expert emphasized. – “If we conduct military operations, then legally against legitimate targets. Therefore, we do not have such a need, like the Americans.”
However, the expert nevertheless admits that it would not be superfluous for Russia to have such a system, since the topic of humanizing the war and reducing the number of civilian casualties is very relevant. “But we are also often accused of allegedly killing civilians in Syria,” says Frolov.
But first, the RMSD expert notes, Russia should create guided serial small ammunition for drones, at least in the usual version – “so that the drones themselves are of our production and that the ammunition for them is worked out in series – at least like the Turks have.” “First you need to do this, and only then think about all kinds of flying knives,” Frolov summed up.
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