Weapons and Kit

What is the Hellfire missile system?

Hellfire systems of the kind that killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri are missiles with a warhead loaded with half a dozen blades that can take out a target instantly – without causing an explosion or killing people around them.

Officials in the US have confirmed that bin Laden's second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri was killed by two drone-fired missiles on Sunday and it is believed there is a new variation of the hellfire missile called the R9X, sometimes referred to as the ninja bomb.

Here, Forces News examines the highly developed variant of the Hellfire missile.

Hellfire missiles, made by Lockheed Martin, are precision-guided munitions for air-to-ground strikes that usually cause significant damage.

They can take down whole buildings and kill or severely injure vast amounts of people nearby.

The missiles fired in Kabul ended the life of the leader of al Qaeda but caused little damage beyond the target.

This could indicate that this was an alternative version of the missile covered in some secrecy, used by the US to avoid non-combatant casualties.

Video: US President Joe Biden says "justice has been delivered" (Credit: Reuters).

Cover image: Two Hellfire missiles fired from a United States drone killed the leader of al Qaeda (Picture: US Department of Defense)

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