A flechette // fleh-SHET is a pointed steel projectile, with a vaned tail for stable flight. The name comes from French fléchette, "little arrow" or "dart", and sometimes retains the acute accent in English: fléchette.
Small arms ammunition 
Small arms makers are also attracted by the exterior ballistic performance and armor-piercing potential of flechettes, and a number of attempts have been made to field flechette-firing small arms.
After work by Johns Hopkins University in the 1950s there was a concept for Direct Injection Antipersonnel Chemical Biological Agent (DIACBA) where flechettes were grooved, hollow pointed, or otherwise milled to retain a quantity of chemical biological warfare agent to deliver through a ballistic wound. The initial work was with VX, but found that it had to be thickened for the flechette to deliver a reliable dose. Eventually this was replaced by a particulate carbamate. The US Biological Program also had a microflechette to deliver either botulinum toxin A or saxitoxin, the M1 Biodart, which resembled a 7.62 mm rifle cartridge.
Several underwater firearms using flechettes were experimented with.
During the Vietnam War the United states employed 12 gauge combat shotguns that were used with flechette loads that consisted of around 20 flechettes per shell. The USSR/Russian federation had/has the AO-27 rifle as well as APS amphibious rifle, and other countries have their own flechette rounds.
A number of prototype flechette-firing weapons were developed as part of the long-running Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) project. Some of these showed up as entries in the Advanced Combat Rifle project as well.
An interesting variation of the flechette that addresses its difficulties is the SCMITR, developed as part of the Close Assault Weapon System, or CAWS, project. This project involved selective-fire, flechette-firing shotguns. The SCMITR was designed to retain the exterior ballistics and penetration of the standard flechette, but increase wounding ability by providing a wider wound path.
Bulk and artillery use 
Smaller flechettes were used in special artillery shells called "beehive" rounds (so named for the very distinctive whistling buzz made by thousands of flechettes flying downrange at supersonic speeds) and intended for use against troops in the open – a ballistic shell packed with flechettes was fired and set off by a mechanical time fuze, scattering flechettes in an expanding cone. They were used in the Vietnam War by 105mm howitzer batteries and tanks (90mm guns) to defend themselves against massed infantry attacks. There was also a flechette round for the 106mm recoilless rifle, which was sometimes employed by American infantry. Heavier artillery, namely 155mm howitzers, 8-inch howitzers, and 175mm guns, did not have a flechette round and instead used either a standard HE round with a time fuze set to 0.0 seconds (resulting in detonation as soon as the round cleared the muzzle, known as Killer Junior) or a double powder charge with no projectile, which inflicted casualties by the muzzle blast alone.
The Israel Defense Forces have used 105 and 120 mm flechettes during the occupation of southern Lebanon, and later in the conflict in Gaza Strip. the Israel Defense Forces had drawn criticism for their use of tank-fired flechettes in urban areas. In 2008, a flechette round from an Israeli tank fired at Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana'a killed him along with two adjacent civilians.
During the latest Russia–Georgia war, both countries claimed that the other was using flechette shells against urban targets, resulting in civilian casualties. While those claims are still to be investigated, it is known that several civilians (including at least one news reporter) were injured by flechette-type ammunition.
The 70mm Hydra 70 rocket currently in service with the US Armed forces can be fitted with an anti-personnel (APERS) warhead containing 96 flechettes. They are carried by attack helicopters such as the AH-64 Apache and the AH-1 Cobra.
In popular culture 
The Thomas Harris novel Black Sunday and 1977 film of the same name detail a fictional plot by Black September terrorists to set off a large flechette bomb at the Super Bowl. The plot involves using a plastic explosive charge to launch 220,000 flechette projectiles from a bomb attached to the cockpit of the Goodyear Blimp. Detailed scenes in the film show the creation and testing of the weapon, including a scene of the blimp pilot (Bruce Dern) preparing flechettes for proper placement in the bomb.
A variety of science fiction universes use flechette ammunition weapons, usually justified as something that will not penetrate spaceship hulls.
In a scene from The Forever War (1974), Mandella buys a revolver with flechette ammunition following his return to Earth.
Several cyberpunk novels use flechettes as projectiles in silent personal handguns; both Molly Millions in Neuromancer and Hiro Protagonist in Snow Crash carry them. 3mm flechettes are also mentioned as the ammunition of "Reason", a super-Gatling gun, later in Snow Crash.
In Battlefield 3, shotguns can be equipped with flechette rounds instead of standard buckshot.
In an episode of NCIS ("Defiance", 2011), flechettes are used in a suicide bomb which kills a marine who was trying to stop an assassination attempt.
In the Gun Runners' Arsenal Add-on Pack for Fallout: New Vegas, Flechette 12 Gauge Shotgun rounds are a usable ammo type, this kind of ammunition is very effective against armored enemies in the game.
Flechettes are also used in Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series.
Flechettes were also prominently used in episode 10 of the first season of the Japanese Anime series Jormungand by HCLI against the Balkan Dragon Militia.
- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists May 1975 Vol. 31, No. 5 – 48 pages, "...using deliberately contaminated shrapnel or multiple-flechette – 'beehive' – munitions, as in the now defunct DIACBA development program of the US Army..."
- Franklin D. Margiotta (1996). Brassey's Encyclopedia of Land Forces and Warfare. Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-087-X.
- Frank Barnaby, Ronald Huisken, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2nd Ed. (1975). Arms Uncontrolled. Harvard University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-674-04655-2.
- Eitan Barak (2011). Deadly Metal Rain: The Legality of Flechette Weapons in International Law: A Reappraisal Following Israel's Use of Flechettes in the Gaza Strip (2001–2009). Brill Academic Pub. ISBN 9789004167193.
- Haaretz: Rights group: IDF must ban shell that killed cameraman in Gaza.
- B'Tselem: Flechette Shells: An illegal weapon.
- News24: Israel to use flechette shells.
- Reuters cameraman killed in Gaza.
- בצלם: ירי הפלאשט שהרג 3 בעזה – לא חוקי – כללי – הארץ
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