When Alexander Yakunin, a director of leading Russian arms company Rostec, told the newspaper TASS that his company is building small multicopters armed with flamethrowers, you might have assumed he was joking. The flamethrowing drone is not a practical weapon.


However, as I explain in this piece in Popular Mechanics, in Russian parlance, a grenade launcher firing thermobaric rounds (enhanced blast plus flame, no shrapnel) counts as a flamethrower.

Specifically, the three-shot GM-94 grenade launcher is designated ‘LPO-97’ (Legkiy Pekhotnyy Ognemet, or light infantry flamethrower). The GM94 is a lightweight (10 lbs.) weapon firing 43mm grenades which have a lethal radius is said to be three metres. Russian2

This is the right weight for octocopers like  Tarot 18 or DJI’s S-1000 Octocopter, which are designed for lugging heavy movie cameras.