The flying Ginsu doesn’t explode

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon have used a modified version of the well-known Hellfire missile with an inert warhead:

Instead of exploding, it is designed to plunge more than 100 pounds of metal through the tops of cars and buildings to kill its target without harming individuals and property close by.

To the targeted person, it is as if a speeding anvil fell from the sky, the officials said. But this variant of the Hellfire missile, designated as the R9X, also comes equipped with a different kind of payload: a halo of six long blades that are stowed inside and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact, shredding anything in its tracks.


The R9X is known colloquially to the small community of individuals who are familiar with its use as “the flying Ginsu,” for the blades that can cut through buildings, car roofs or other targets. The nickname is a reference to the popular knives sold on TV infomercials in the late 1970s and early 1980s that showed them cutting through both tree branches and tomatoes. The weapon has also been referred to as the Ninja bomb.

Back in 2003, RAF Tornadoes were armed with laser-guided concrete bombs, and back in Vietnam the USAF used “lazy dog” bombs — two-inch chunks of steel with fins — which inspired the THOR system of tungsten rods dropped from cheap satellites.


  1. Paul from Canada says:

    The Rhodesians used large nails with plastic fins attached and dropped on mass as a cheap anti-personel weapon, apparently very effective.

  2. TRX says:

    The “Rods from God!”

    Someone paid attention to Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

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