Banned Weapons: “Arrow” Rifle – AAI Advanced Combat Flechette Rifle


Banned Weapons: “Arrow” Rifle – AAI Advanced Combat Flechette Rifle
AAI Corporation entered the latest variant of their long line of experimental fléchette rifles.

A special magazine was used to prevent soldiers loading standard 5.56 mm NATO ammunition into the magazine, but rounds could still be chambered by hand. The weapon was limited to three-round bursts despite the fact that one of the main reasons for using a fléchette is its low recoil.

Their entry used a standard 5.56 x 45 mm cartridge case firing a 1.6 x 41.27 mm fléchette of 0.66 grams at 1402 m/s. While the standard 5.56 x 45 mm case was used, the rifle was not safe to fire using standard ammunition due to the design of the gas system. One of the biggest complaints about their earlier efforts was the loud muzzle blast, a problem that is hard to avoid with a sabotted round. As a result, AAI added a flash hider/sound suppressor that reduced the muzzle blast to just louder than an M16A2.This particular design was less complex than some of their earlier models, which could switch between fléchette ammunition for rapid fire and standard 5.56 NATO rounds for long-range semi-automatic fire.


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.

The IDF used flechettes in Lebanon against the Hizbullah and the other militias fighting against Israel. The flechettes killed and wounded dozens of Lebanese civilians who were not involved in the hostilities, including children.

Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, the IDF has used flechettes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

As of 2 February 2003, these shells have killed at least nine Palestinians:

On 3 March 2001, flechette darts killed Mustafa Rimlawi, a 42-year old mentally handicapped resident of the al-Burej refugee camp, as he was wandering along the Karni-Netzarim road in the Gaza Strip.

On 9 March 2001, Zaid ‘Ayad, a resident of the Gaza Strip, was shot on the same road (the circumstances of his death are disputed).

On 9 June 2001, IDF soldiers encamped at the Nezarim settlement fired several flechettes in response to Palestinian gunfire at the encampment. Three Palestinian women, who were living in a tent site in the Sheikh ‘Ajalin neighborhood near the settlement and were not involved in the firing at the army encampment, were killed by flechette darts: Hikmat ‘Odeh Alla Salmi al-Malalheh, 17, Nasra Salem Hussein al-Malalheh, 65, and Salima ‘Omer Ghanem al-Malalheh, 32. Another man and woman in the tent site were seriously injured. The Judge Advocate General announced the appointment of an Investigative Officer to examine the circumstances of the deaths of the three women.


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