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Depleted uranium[edit]

Why is there a part about depleted uranium rounds in the Flechette article? Depleted Uranium rounds are neither Flechette or even anti-personnel... just found it perplexing. -Peter

What is the difference between an ACR flechette round and a 120mm APFSDS round, other than scale? The entire purpose of flechette is to maximize penetration, which means maximizing the sectional density, and that is commonly done through high strength, high density materials such as tungsten and depleted uranium. scot 14:31, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
AAI and TRW experimented with DU flechette for small arms in 7.62mm NATO and .50 BMG respectively. The cartridges had the unfortunate designation DUDS: Depleted Uranium Discarding Sabot. --D.E. Watters (talk) 13:59, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Heavy flechette[edit]

I have never located, anywhere, an actual reference to a "Heavy Flechette" (especially not anti-tank). As far as I know, there is no such thing. Flechettes are small metal darts (with emphasis on the small) used in the anti-personnel role. Typically the small darts are bundled into packages, and fired from a variety of weaponry, shotguns, rifles, tanks, artillery, rocket launchers, etc. After the round is fired, the package disperses the flechette contents into a wide pattern with the hope of hitting and doing severe damage to as many soft targets (people) as possible. Flechettes are usually useless against hard targets.


I have continued my research. I have located a single manufacturer (Oerlikon Contraves Pyrotec, seen on a Rheinmetall Defence website) that describes a 30mm round as an APFSDS-T "heavy metal flechette". This is the heaviest AP-type round I have found that the manufacturer calls "flechette". That and this Wikipedia page are the only sources I have so far been able to locate that equate "flechette" with "armor piercing". It's appearance seems more like a mistaken use of terminology than an endorsement that "flechette" rounds are AP-type ammunition. All other sources I have located so far refer to "flechette" as an anti-personnel round that packages small metal darts (sometimes only one) for use against soft targets.

Some research.
What you may have missed was the fact that they are only known as heavy flechettes in french - les flechette lourdes. In english, both British and American, they are known as discarding sabot rounds.
The M1A1 (The US Army Main Battle Tank) and the Challenger (the British Army MBT) both employ APFSDS (Armour-Piercing, Fin-Stabilised, Discarding Sabot) rounds as their primary AT capacity, fired from a 120-mm smoothbore. In fact, the reason they have the smoothbore is to allow for the use of such rounds. In addition, the MGM-166 LOSAT is a man-portable APFSDS system that was scrapped last year due to cost-effectiveness issues.
A picture of an example of the topic in question would be nice.
The main article did not make this clear in its previous incarnation. There were people who were taking the main article to state that "flechette" and AP were equivalent. They are not in most cases so far as I have been able to determine. The re-write of the heavy flechette section is an improvement, although I still do not believe that heavy AP rounds should be classified as Heavy Flechette except as a note in regards to French terminolgy.
There is a picture in the link I provided above.


“These 1 3/4" bomblets were air-dropped at height in canisters by aircraft, or scattered from buckets by helicopter crews, reaching sub-sonic speeds as they fell…” Does this make sense? They started at subsonic speeds. -Ahruman 23:13, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

I re-wrote that section, and added a reference in the "external links" with pictures of various air dropped flechette from WWI to the 1970s. Take a look and see if you think that's better now. scot 14:29, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
also "supersonic" in the next paragraph does not make sense to me. if they come flying supersonic, you would not hear them before they impact at you. --Scanner 12:54, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
While you wouldn't hear them until after they hit you, flechette are pretty survivable, and the sound can be heard from areas that are safe, such as under cover. The low lethality of the individual flechette is one of the reasons the ACR and CAWS programs were canceled, the idea of a flechette firing individual weapon wasn't as attractive when you consider that a single flechette hit does very little damage. Now the beehive rounds, on the other hand, are capable of generating a large number of hits to targets close to the detonation, and even at longer ranges the high sectional density can penetrate light armor. Use of a beehive round against a legitimate target located in an area with civilian population does potentially run a higher risk of hitting a civilian than traditional round ball shrapnel, due to the wide range of the flechette, but since the risk of multiple hits drops rapidly as the range increases, the risk of a lethal injury to noncombatants is probably pretty small outside the effective radius of the shell due to the low lethality of a single flechette. scot 14:22, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

The photo[edit]

Could somebody put a note beneath the photo, clearly stating that the ruler-scale under the fletchettes is in inches. Many casual readers would assume it to be a scale of centimeters, since SI uinits are used (and assumed by default) by the vast majority of this planet's population. I don't know how to place such a note, so I can't do it myself. --Peter Knutsen 02:12, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

It's probably not necessary, since the units in the photo are clearly divided into sixteenths, rather than tenths. But yes, it's a valid point. -NordsternMN (talk) 04:33, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

The In Fiction part[edit]

I believe that the information about the Flak cannon from Unreal should be ommitted, it has nothing at all to do with flechettes. It's kind of obvious that Flak is taken from the anti-aircraft guns, both in name and in the actual type of ammunition used.

I have removed said reference to UT as its obviously wrong to anyone who has played any/all of the games.Remember BE BOLD —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:16, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm removing the "trivia" tag from the article, and renaming the section "in popular culture", as is seen in many other articles. --Muna (talk) 19:59, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I removed the Halo reference the "needler" fires some kind of homing energy thing that explodes a couple of seconds after impact not ar Flechette at all apart from them being needle shaped-- (talk) 10:02, 24 March 2008 (UTC)


I am removing the following from the second paragraph "Small arms ammunition" section: "Second is the issue of recoil — for the same amount of kinetic energy, a lighter bullet (with a higher muzzle velocity) produces less recoil, and thus less shot dispersion in automatic fire." This sentence doesn't make sense. If the kinetic energy is the same, then the recoil has to be the same. Kinetic energy backwards of the weapon equals kinetic energy forwards of the projectile. Either the kinetic energy is less, or the recoil is the same. Someone who knows which it is can fix this. Kurt (talk) 19:11, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

No, it does not. Recoil is a function of momentum, not energy. Momentum must be conserved in any interaction, see the article on ballistic pendulum for coverage of the difference between energy and momentum conservation, and a selection of references showing how momentum is used to measure recoil. scot (talk) 15:04, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Flechette vs. Fléchette[edit]

[discussion moved from user talk:Mzajac —MZ]

I've seen the moves back and forth from Flechette to Fléchette, and I'm gonna have to agree with fléchette here; a check of shows all listed dictionary entries as using the fléchette spelling. scot (talk) 14:04, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't realize this was contentious. My NOAD says “flechette (also fléchette)”, and with a single exception, so does this article (and it looks like that has been stable since the article was created in 2002). So do any military books I've read. Since I checked the talk page first and this wasn't even mentioned, I would say that a problem here is that you are unilaterally reverting my work without discussing it first.
So since it's a point of contention, let's look at the sources:
  1. fléchette in (2006)
  2. fléchette in American Heritage (2006,
  3. fléchette in Encarta (2007)[1]
  1. flechette in NOAD (2nd, 2002)
  2. flechette in the first 48 of 50 results of (options: English sources only, same results searching for flechette -wikipedia or fléchette -wikipedia)
  3. flechette in 19/20 results in (options: English sources only; 1/20 misapplies the accent as flèchette)
  4. From memory, flechette is what I've seen in English-language military sources.
From this, I'd say that flechette is the English orthography which would be most familiar to readers, and the one that meets WP:NAME. Any more sources to add? Michael Z. 2008-10-28 15:19 z
Ah, looking at the history, I see the article title has also been stable at Flechette for nearly six years, and only got moved for the first time last week. Sorry that I hadn't noticed it. Michael Z. 2008-10-28 15:22 z
Unless you looked at the book contents, this is not valid, as the Google search results don't generally include the marks. For example, Aëroplanes and Dirigibles of War by Frederick Arthur Ambrose Talbot shows up as "flechette" in the search results, but consistently uses "fléchette" in the text. scot (talk) 16:51, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Not quite correct. If you look at the page scans, you'll see that Talbot consistently spells the word flèchette,[2][3] with a grave accent. The correct French is flèche (arrow), but fléchette (dart) with an acute. I speculate that in his 1915 book he back-formed the spelling of this brand-new word from flèche, which was known in English since the 1700s.
I guess you're right about the Google books results: the accent rarely, not always, gets dropped in the excerpt—so I looked again at the first 20 results with full or partial previews. 19 spell flechette without an accent, and the one misspells it flèchette with a grave instead of acute accent.
I'm out of patience—can anyone find a single English-language book which actually spells it with the acute accent? Michael Z. 2008-11-01 19:00 z
I moved it to fléchette as that is the term used by the two dictionaries which were listed above, as well as this one (although I'm not sure how reliable it is), as well as encarta, (it does list it without the acute, but it lists it with it as the primary name on the page). It is also closer to the French term it was based upon. While many readers may know it without the accent, the accent won't confuse anybody, it's the more proper name (given the history of the word, per backing of the dictionaries listed above), and on a more subjective note, it helps a reader who is unfamiliar with the word pronounce it (and who can't read the IPA, which I would image would be the vast majority of readers). So that's why I support it remaining at "fléchette". seresin ( ¡? )  22:56, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
The Farlex Free Dictionary has the notice “The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003,” so it is just an older version of the same American Heritage included in I've updated the list above with Encarta.
Our survey of dictionaries is slim, but finds listings for “fléchette”, “flechette or fléchette”, and “fléchette or flechette”. This only shows that both are correct in English.
My brief survey of Google books finds no evidence of the use of fléchette. So using Flechette for the title is supported by WP:NAME (Wikipedia:NAME#Use_the_most_easily_recognized_name).
I disagree that the fléchette spelling is “more proper” in some undefined way—it may reflect the etymology, but isn't the most common modern spelling.
I don't believe that any other Wikipedia guidelines suggests ignoring WP:NAME even if it “won't confuse anybody” or if it “helps a reader who is unfamiliar with the word pronounce it” (which I find doubtful anyway, since it is mainly pronounced like “flesh-ET”—if you're not happy with IPA, add a transcription in this style, which will actually serve the purpose of conveying pronunciation). Michael Z. 2008-11-01 19:00 z
I had to see where the accent is used, so I went through the first 50 google books results with full or partial previews. Results: 2 disqualified (“Miss Flechette” and a French source), 6 fléchettes,[4][5][6][7][8][9] 42 flechettes. Unless someone can find some strong evidence to the contrary, which is supported by WP guidelines, the naming guideline clearly supports FlechetteMichael Z. 2008-11-01 19:39 z

I've restored the stable and most common spelling in the article. By the way, Seresin, when you converted the article to the little-used “proper name”[10] you also changed a direct quotation and two cited article titles. You're not only imposing your own preference against Wikipedia guidelines, your shotgun search-and-replace also made the article worse.

If no one has any other evidence, I'll move the article back to the stable title shortly. Michael Z. 2008-11-01 19:53 z


A list of current manufacturers of these arms and shops and suppliers should be included in this article

Small Arms Ammunition[edit]

In this section it says "The 12 gauge version is nothing more than a standard 12 gauge shell loaded with approximately 50-100 flechettes bound tightly together within sabot jacket". Unfortunately, there is no way anyone can pack anywhere near that number of flechettes into a standard 12-bore cartridge. As an example, in the catalogue for a company called Hi-Vel Inc. (, the description for a .410 flechette round says "Unlike the 12 gauge version that contains 20 1 inch steel darts, the .410 has only 8".

Also in relation to 12 gauge flechette cartridges, this section says "The typical maximum range for an assault shotgun that one can expect to result in instant incapacitation is approximately 60 yards. The Flechette round extends this to approximately 100-120 yards" and later, "A typical spread at 100 yards is approximately 3 to 3.5 feet in diameter". I have spoken to a few forces veterans about this, and their consensus opinion is that firstly, 'instant incapicitation' is just not going to happen with flechettes at anything like this distance, and secondly that 3.5 foot spread at 100 yards is total nonsense. Browsing around various gun-type forums would appear to support this; a typical comment was "These flechette rounds were a joke. 90% of them hit the target sideways, not point-first. ... The spead was extreme - something like an 8-foot wide pattern at 50 feet". (talk) 14:42, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I cleared out the whole section, since there were errors and no references, and started anew with a brief mention of the US use in Viet Nam, and the SPIW, ACR, and CAWS projects. I think the previous bit was a mish-mash of information from M79, 12 gauge, and CAWS flechette loads. scot (talk) 15:38, 16 April 2009 (UTC)


Both 'flechette' and 'flechettes' are used in the article... Anyone know which is correct? -- (talk) 02:12, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

On Russian flechette use in Georgia[edit]

"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.[citation needed]."

This isn't merely a claim anymore. Its become public domain knowledge confirmed even in Russia, except by some state-run outlets who staunchly allege it was a car accident. See links on this page: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:20, 2 May 2011 (UTC) More linkage on the use of the Iskander missile (talk) 16:24, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Article is incomplete[edit]

I read this article years ago, the most interesting part was the origin, when pilots dropped improvised projectiles from planes (in WWI or before?) that accelerated to deadly speeds simply by the height from which they were dropped. This isn't even mentioned any more. Also the structure leaves something to be desired, how can you start with "Small arms makers are also attracted by the exterior ballistic ", when nothing about that has been said yet? (talk) 21:04, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

On Current Use[edit]

Article indicates IDF is using flechettes and the only source is palestinian groups. I think we need a better source before claiming Israeli use of this weapon.

Do you want an RS check on ? Hcobb (talk) 20:17, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

broken reference link[edit]

[1] (no. 9 currently)

  1. ^