Gaza: reports banned flechette shells are being used


Flechette removed from Bedouin man in Gaza clinic. ABC news
Flechette removed from Bedouin man in Gaza clinic. ABC news

In the infamous 2009 ” Cast Lead” the Jewish military state used white phosphorous over an area with many civilians, as a weapon (and not ‘illumination’ as it claimed) causing horrific injuries. It has been reported and confirmed that it has used this again, as well as sarin. In addition, health officials and foreign health workers have state unequivocally that the Jewish military state is using the banned DIME weapons on Gaza. There have been reports for several days that flechette shells have been used as well, which seems to correspond to the photos of explosions over Gaza and some of the peculiar injuries.

A little bit about these banned flechette shells:

Gaza - flechette shell diagram
Gaza – flechette shell diagram

A flechette shell is an anti-personnel weapon generally fired from a tank, but not necessarily. Once the rocket reaches a “wall in space”, the flechettes are propelled forward onto the target. The rocket’s trajectory determines the dispersal (flatter launch angle, longer linear dispersion), so a steeper dive angle will give a tighter pattern and a reduced impact area with denser coverage.

Federation of American Scientists

The HYDRA 70 (70mm) Rocket System is a family of 2.75″ unguided rockets.

The Hydra-70 rocket is fired from all armed Army Helicopters and the armed helicopters of most sister services. The rocket is also fired from many U.S. fixed wing platforms and is a major export munition to many allied nations.

The war reserve unitary and cargo warheads are used for anti-materiel, anti-personnel, and suppression missions. The Hydra 70 family of Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR) also includes smoke screening, illumination, and training warheads. These rockets are used by rotary, wing, fixed and ground platforms. The most widely used application is on helicopters for air-to-ground engagements.

In the US Army, Hydra 70 rockets are fired from the AH-64A Apache/AH-64D Apache Longbow using M261 19-tube rocket launchers, and the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and the AH-1F “modernized” Cobra using seven-tube M260 rocket launchers.

US Army - M225A1 Flechette
US Army – M225A1 Flechette

M255A1 Flechette Warhead with M439 RS Fuze

The M255A1 Flechette Warhead design results from a program to develop an air-to-air/air-to-ground warhead with a payload of 1,179 60-grain flechettes. This warhead was type classified standard (for SOF only) and fielded in 1993. The warhead uses many standard components with the M261/M267 Warhead, such as the plastic nose cone, aluminum case, umbilical cable, and the M439 RS Fuze. The M255A1 is intended to be used against light material and personnel targets. At expulsion the flechettes separate and form a disk like mass which breaks up with each flechette assuming an independant trajectory, forming a repeatable dispersion pattern. The flechette uses kinetic energy derived from the velocity of the rocket to produce the desired impact and penetration effect on the target.

The M255E1 Flechette flechette warhead, which contains approximately 1,180 60-grain hardened steel flechettes, is in limited production. It is designed for use with the M439 fuze and has possible air-to-air as well as air-to-ground application.

US Army – Joint Attack Muntion Systems (JAMS)

70mm – HYDRA Rocket System
The M255A1 flechette warhead is used primarily against antipersonnel targets: this warhead contains 1,179 sixty-grain, hardened steel flechettes and uses the M439 fuze. Currently this warhead is type classified for Special Operations Forces (SOF) only. The M255A1 Warhead is a cargo warhead consisting of a nose cone assembly, a warhead case, an integral fuze, 1,179 sixty-grain flechettes, and an expulsion charge assembly. The primary warhead fuze (M439) is remotely set with the ARCS, MFD or RMS to provide range (time of flight) from 500m to 7200m. The warhead weight is 13.9lb. When mated to the MK66 motor, the live weight is 27.5 pounds while the fired weight is 20.3lb. The overall M255A1 Rocket length is 66.10in.

Military Analysis

“Beehive is an anti-personnel round fired from an artillery gun, packed full of metal darts, flechettes, which are ejected from the shell in front of the target by the action of a mechanical time fuse. It is so-called because of the ‘buzzing’ sound the darts make when flying through the air and in the manner of numerous bees around an actual beehive.”

Beehive – this is the type the Jewish military state uses on Gaza

“Beehive rounds were extensively used in the Vietnam War, for defence of fire base perimeters against massed enemy attacks . . . The primary beehive round for this purpose . . . projected 8000 flechettes and was direct fired from a near horizontally levelled barrel of a 105mm howitzer”


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 fuse, scattering flechettes in an expanding cone. They were used in the Vietnam War by 105 mm howitzer batteries and tanks (90mm guns) to defend themselves against massed infantry attacks. There was also a flechette round for the 106 mm recoilless rifle, which was sometimes employed by American infantry.

Heavier artillery, including 155 mm howitzers, 8-inch howitzers, and 175 mm guns, did not have a flechette round.

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.

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.

B’Tselem: Flechette Shells: an illegal weapon

The flechette shell is an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank. The shell explodes in the air and releases thousands of metal darts 37.5 mm in length, which disperse in a conical arch three hundred meters long and about ninety meters wide.

The IDF uses flechette shells that are 105 mm in diameter and are fired from tanks.

The primary military advantage of the flechette over other munitions is its ability to penetrate dense vegetation very rapidly and to strike a relatively large number of enemy soldiers.

Official Israeli sources justify the use of flechette shells. The IDF Spokesperson claims that the use of this weapon is permitted under international law and that “the use of various types of weapons is done according to the judgement of commanders in the field, and based on the threat posed to the security forces.” Haim Israeli, Assistant to the Defense Minister, wrote to B’Tselem that “the use of flechette shells in combat is not forbidden. In regards to when this weapon is used, the IDF is aware of the need to balance between military need on one hand, and humanitarian concerns and minimization of damage to the civilian population on the other. The policy regarding the use of various types of weapons is determined based on these considerations.”

These claims cannot justify the use of flechette shells by the IDF in the Gaza Strip. While flechettes are not expressly forbidden under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.

The long killing range of the shell makes its use in populated areas such as the Gaza Strip a type of indiscriminate firing in which there is a particularly high danger of harming innocent civilians. In addition, during combat in a built-up area, the likelihood of errors in identifying the source of light-weapons fire is particularly great. Because of the duty to limit to the extent possible harm to innocent civilians, added caution is required when selecting the military response, including the type of ammunition.

Electronic Intifada: Israel’s military debates use of flechette round

From Jane’s Defense Weekly
The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is using tank-fired flechette anti-personnel rounds in its conflict with Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Military sources told Jane’s Defence Weekly that the IDF is divided about the employment of the round, with some officers arguing that the shell is effective against certain targets while others warn of an international backlash.

The IDF is using a modified version of the M494 105mm APERS-T round provided by the USA in the 1970s. According to a US Army manual, the round is “designed for close-in assault against massed infantry assaults and for offensive fire against exposed enemy personnel”.

In IDF service the M494 is fitted with the Reshef Technologies OMEGA M127 electronic fuze which is set before the round is fired. At the set range the forward section of the M494 round ruptures releasing approximately 5,000 small flechette darts and a dye marker. The flechettes are dispersed in a cone-shaped pattern which is 300m long and about 94m wide.

Although the IDF spokesman refused to comment on operational matters, other IDF sources told JDW that commanders are under orders to use the round sparingly and insist it has been employed on only a “handful” of occasions in Gaza. They said the round is used against targets such as mortar crews who cannot be engaged effectively by automatic fire.

“The Israeli military obtained these weapons from the USA after the 1973 war and we have thousands of old shells in warehouses,” said an Israeli defence source. “The weapon is not regarded as reliable or effective and gunners have a difficult time in aiming this properly.”

Israel Military Industries has developed a 120mm APERS round and the more advanced 105mm and 120mm Anti-Personnel, Anti-Materiel (APAM) round, which is intended to defeat targets such as anti-tank teams.

The use of flechette rounds in war is not proscribed by the Geneva Convention but their use in internal security operations is more problematic. A US State Department official told JDW: “There has been no determination as to whether Israel has done something to violate the Arms Export Control Act” or any other arms-related law or agreement in its recent military actions. The official added that the state and defence departments are reviewing those actions and Israel’s use of other US-supplied weapons, but refused to confirm whether the flechette rounds were specifically included.

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