Hand Grenade Drones in Mosul

Attempts at dropping handguns in prisons with commercial drones have been attempted before, but this is the first time a hand grenade has been used with drones, in an offensive setting. How Daesh is arming the grenade, or even dropping it is somewhat confusing. The drone is possibly being used as a sort of “Kamikaze” Drone, driving it into a target, allowing a grenade with the spoon detached to detonate when it falls free of the drone. Drones have previously been used by Daesh to film their own attacks, as well as spying on Iraqi lines. The below video shows one these drones getting shot down by Iraqi forces.

Iraqi forces have also been using drones of their own to likewise spy on Daesh positions in the fight to recapture Mosul.

When I was in Afghanistan in 2014, there were some substantiated stories by some of the drone operators in my platoon about MARSOC using Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawks to drop grenades on Taliban positions. How true that might have been, or even if it happened at all I’m not sure of, but the stories were certainly there and came from credible sources. Much like most of what happens in Special Operations, it will probably come out 10 or 20 years from now.



Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • CommonSense23

    The Taliban had armed kamikaze drones at least 6 years ago. Never pulled it off but they tried. Its going to get cheaper and effective for insurgents to use it. But the countermeasures are pretty easy currently to implement. For the commercial stuff at least.

  • Bull

    Aouch! Time to buy samt kamkars skyjacker?

    • Bull

      https://m. youtube. com/watch?v=EHKV01YQX_w

      • Shrek

        Not for the price they want for it. I think the good ole 12gauge with a longer barrel for shooting skeet would be just as sufficient.

        • Sam P

          Some small multiroters can be pretty fast (> 100 mph) and nimble.
          Probably interfering with the radios for the controls and video camera would be the most effective countertactic. Autonomous drones that can maneuver usefully around obstacles and make accurate attack runs are much harder to build than a remotely piloted vehicle.

          Check out some of the youtube (and other sites) videos for drone racing to see what’s being done now.

  • Giolli Joker

    12 Ga will have more space in the Armies now.

    • pun&gun

      On some level, I would be really amused to see shotguns come back into favor with the military for wingshooting drone threats.

      • iksnilol

        I remember reading that in WW1 (or was it WW2) soldiers that were good trapshooters were used to shoot grenades thrown at trenches.

    • Bill

      As long as the round has sufficient range to ding the drone outside the blast radius and the distance at which the shrapnel could still wound.

      What would be cool would be a .22 LR Phalanx gun.

      • Drew Coleman

        That’d be awesome.

      • Tassiebush

        I’d almost go beyond “it’d be cool” to it is needed. If these sorts of things start to get fielded in larger numbers at once. It actually gives me super villain ideas!

      • billyoblivion

        That would be interesting and overcome one of the .22lr’s biggest problems–reliability (rimfire rounds are less reliable than center fire).

        If you had an electric gatling .22 you just eject the “defective” round like a spent casing and keep on going.

      • Benjamin Goldstein

        Bring back the old AM180 , 277 rounds of 22lr in 15 seconds

        • Rocketman

          Damn good idea! It would have the range to deal with small drones and the bullet has enough stopping power to puncture the casing or propeller of the drone.

    • CountryBoy

      Clay target shooting has shown a 75-100 yrd “lethal zone” with target loads, so they’ll likely beef that up (buckshot?, etc.) for these if that’s their direction.

      Yet these are critical threats due to their small size and ability to home in, taking recon photos all the while, possibly being lethal all the way in, even when shot down near or over an emplacement.

      • Ken

        Heavy goose shell will have more pellets than buckshot, but more range than regular birdshot. And since they’re not hunting waterfowl with it, they can use lead shot all they want.

  • N.R. Jenzen-Jones

    Not even close to the “first time”.

  • Martin M

    I figured someone would eventually do this with the tried and true “grenade in a can” trick. All you need is a servo to drop the floor out of the can. RC modelers add all sorts of servos to their aircraft. Most notably to open a bomb bay door and drop something. Releasing a grenade or explosive device would actually be a simple feat, and drones would be perfect for the urban environment.

  • Anomanom

    Unbend pin, tie string from drone to pin, when release grenade grenade fall, pin pulls out, grenade armed and explodes.

  • Tassiebush

    I guess it’s pretty much to be expected. I don’t think that when we were all kids we ever imagined drones being fielded by non state actors. World has changed.

    • Wow!

      Sure we did. How many movies (especially anime) featured a brave new world futuristic setting where the police under the new technocratic government are fighting rebels using the same technology as the government, or more advanced?

      Heck, Star wars is the best example. The Federation is against the Republic but they have a whole army of Droids while the Republic only has Jedi and later gets Clones.

      • Tassiebush

        I more meant it actually happening in my lifetime

  • Örn Johnson

    How many seconds is the grenade fuse?

  • diana pierce

    There seems to be no limits on applications. If it can be fitted on … it can be used. It can also get a bit scary too.

  • Curtis_15

    Put grande in lightweight glass jar with pin pulled. Drop glass jar. Glass Jar breaks, spoon flies, grenade goes BOOM!

    No need to worry about timers on grenades or strings on pins hoping they pull pin when dropped.

    Favorite trick of Raven Pilots in Vietnam.