Meet The ‘Flying Ginsu,’ A Truly Gnarly Weapon Washington Used To Annihilate An Al-Qaida Leader

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American Special Operations used a massive hellfire missile nicknamed the “Flying Ginsu” to kill an al-Qaida leader earlier this month.

Khaled al-Aruri died June 14 in a drone strike, American and al-Qaida leaders confirmed according to the New York Times. However, the weapon used to kill him was not a typical drone; al-Aruri met his demise at the hands of the Kinetic Hellfire Missile, a massive piece of metal that deploys 6 helicopter-like blades right before it hits its target.  (RELATED: UN Chief Urges World To End Wars To Fight Coronavirus)

The Flying Ginsu is equipped with a kinetic warhead, which is essentially a giant weight on the missile that can punch through things like car roofs. The more than 100-pound weapon can dive through buildings and cars and deploy 6 helicopter-like knives to kill a target, according to the Wall Street Journal

Pictures of cars after they’ve been struck by the missile show the vehicles largely intact, save for the massive hole through the windshield. 

The Hellfire AGM-114 missile was originally developed during the Cold War as a tool to break through Soviet armor, according to Overt Defense. Once their use became popular during the War on Terror, the missiles continued to develop into the current model — the Hellfire AGM-114R9X, or the “Flying Ginsu.”

The Wall Street Journal first confirmed the weapon’s existence in May. It was developed under pressure from the Obama administration to try and minimize civilian casualties, and as a more precise weapon, because enemies had started using women and children as human shields, the Wall Street Journal reported.