The Army's new 40mm grenade round looks like it's straight out of 'The Fifth Element'

Military Tech

At least one weapons expert in the Army clearly loved The Fifth Element as a kid.

A team of Army researchers have engineered a 40mm grenade round with a net inside to take down unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a new patent issue on Tuesday.


The three researchers at the Army's Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey designed the unusual "net warhead" round to ensnare the propellors of low-flying drones rather than forcing soldiers to rely on kinetic or electronic countermeasures.

A patent drawing for a 'Scalable Effects Net Warhead'U.S. Patent Office

Rather than launching a net outright, the grenade is activated by a proximity sensor within feet of a moving target, ejecting a spinning net with significantly improved accuracy and duration compared to, say, a pair of hand-thrown bolas.

"As the round nears the target, a signal from a control board activates a servo. The servo pulls on a central lock plunger to release a ball mechanism. This releases the ogive section, which in turn allows the ejection spring means to eject the petals and weights along with the net stowed there within," the patent notes.

More importantly, the 40mm net grenade is perfectly compatible with the M302 single-shot underslung grenade launcher that's a frequent addition to the standard issue M4 carbine an M16 assault rifle, as well as the Mk 19 belt-fed grenade launcher.

A patent drawing for a 'Scalable Effects Net Warhead'U.S. Patent Office

Nets aren't a totally new countermeasure against hostile drones. Following 2015 security scare when radioactive sand was intentionally dropped by drone onto the roof of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office in Tokyo, Japanese police started using their own drone-mounted nets to play goalie against incoming unmanned aerial systems.

But those countermeasures require "a well-trained pilot to try to catch a much lighter, faster, and more maneuverable UAS," the researchers note, a task that is "difficult at best." Adding a specially-engineered launcher to an infantry weapons system, they found, greatly boosted the accuracy and effectiveness of any net-based counter-UAS measures.

No word yet on whether the Army plans on contracting with Zorg Enterprises for any future net warhead requirements:

Read the patent below:

SEE ALSO: That Time The Army Nearly Replaced The M16 With The Pulse Rifle From 'Demolition Man'

WATCH NEXT: Deadpool Was A Shitty Special Forces Soldier

If you want something done, do it yourself! (Columbia Pictures)
(U.S. Air Force)

Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile launch control center for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.

Read More Show Less

Two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters recently flew a mission in the Middle East in "beast mode," meaning they were loaded up with as much firepower as they could carry.

The F-35s with the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to execute a mission in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Air Forces Central Command revealed. The fifth-generation fighters sacrificed their high-end stealth to fly with a full loadout of weaponry on their wings.

Read More Show Less
(DoD photos)

The U.S. Senate closed out the week before Memorial Day by confirming Gen. James McConville as the Army's new chief of staff and Adm. Bill Moran as the Navy's new chief of naval operations.

McConville, previously vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed on Thursday along with his successor, Lt Gen. Joseph Marin. Moran, currently vice chief of naval operations, was confirmed Friday along with his successor, Vice Adm. Robert Burke.

Read More Show Less

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is prohibiting service members who work there from being in the area of a Ku Klux Klan rally scheduled for Saturday in downtown Dayton, Ohio.

Read More Show Less
(Associated Press/Elise Amendola)

The Pentagon is producing precisely diddly-squat in terms of proof that Iran is behind recent attacks in the Middle East, requiring more U.S. troops be sent to the region.

Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, said on Friday that the U.S. military is extending the deployment of about 600 troops with four Patriot missile batteries already in the region and sending close to 1,000 other service members to the Middle East in response to an Iranian "campaign" against U.S. forces.

Read More Show Less