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NOTE: This article is about throwable Smoke Grenade devices in the main ArmA games. For its perishable counterpart in ArmA Tactics, see Smoke grenade (Tactics).

Smoke Grenades are throwable concealment/signalling devices.


Concealing an infantry breach with handheld smoke grenades (ArmA 3)

Smoke grenades function as concealment/signalling devices for infantry and vehicles. Once a smoke grenade has been thrown, they will begin dispersing a plume of smoke (either in white or another colour) that can help obscure enemy vision.

Unlike their lethal counterparts, smoke grenades cannot harm personnel. Some underbarrel grenade launchers can also load and fire smoke shells, which function in the same way as thrown grenades but do not need to be manually primed by the user.

USMC LAV-25 concealing itself with smoke (ArmA 2)

Smoke grenades are also readily available as defensive countermeasures on ground vehicles (ArmA 2 and later titles only).

Unlike their handheld versions, vehicle smoke launchers instantly form a thick cloud upon impact; usually in a 180 degree arc in front of the vehicle or depending on where the vehicle's turret is facing. Vehicle smoke can help deter or outright block the vision of SACLOS-based missile weapons and other visually-guided weapons.

NATO M2A1 Slammer concealed by a thick plume of smoke (ArmA 3)

They can also obscure infrared sensors from seeing through the smoke, which can confuse infrared-guided missiles already in mid-flight from locking on through the cloud.

However it should be noted that smoke will not stop missiles that feature an alternate top-attack mode; unless the vehicle itself is hidden inside the smoke cloud.

Lastly, an important but often overlooked distinction with smoke grenades is that they DO NOT provide cover. Smoke grenades are only intended to conceal personnel and vehicles moving through them; just because you cannot be seen this does not mean you can't be shot at. This caveat applies to both AI-controlled units and players alike.

ArmA: Cold War Assault

Cold War Assault-era Smoke Grenades

In ArmA: Cold War Assault, smoke grenades serve no purpose other than for signalling or marking targets.

They do not conceal infantry or vehicles passing through the cloud even if the grenade's plume has fully formed.

ArmA: Armed Assault

Armed Assault-era Smoke Grenades

« A Smoke Grenade can be thrown 30m/100ft by the average soldier. The grenade emits a dense cloud of smoke for 100 to 150 seconds, and is used for signaling and evasion.
Library Description

Smoke grenades in ArmA: Armed Assault are available in either white, red or green varieties.

All three main factions have access to handheld smoke grenades. They will automatically begin dispersing smoke two seconds after being thrown and last for a total of 60 seconds. The smoke plume will usually require anywhere from ten to fifteen seconds to become fully formed.

Unlike in Cold War Assault, smoke grenades now properly conceal infantry passing through the cloud and will obstruct the vision of AI units.

ArmA 2

ArmA 2-era Smoke Grenades and UGL/GL rounds

« The smoke shell is designed to create a smokescreen in order to mask the movement, position, advance or withdrawal of units or vehicles.
Armoury Description

Smoke grenades in ArmA 2 are now available in yellow, purple, blue and orange varieties on top of the usual white, red and green. All factions ranging from the U.S. Marines to the Takistani Army make use of handheld smoke grenades.

In addition, the British UGL, American M203/EGLM/XM320 and Russian GP-25 underbarrel grenade launchers - along with the M79, Mk13 and M32 standalone grenade launcher weapons, have access to smoke shells. However, grenade launcher smoke rounds only come in either white, red, green or yellow varieties.

Just like in Armed Assault, ArmA 2's smoke grenades and UGL shells activate two seconds after being thrown/launched and will last for a total of 60 seconds. They will also require anywhere from ten to fifteen seconds after detonatation for a plume to become thick enough to conceal its "targets".

Ground vehicles ranging from Main Battle Tanks like the American M1A1/Russian T-90 to Armoured Personnel Carriers such as the Stryker IAV, can launch smoke countermeasures in front of them; usually as a visual deterrence. Unlike handheld smokes, vehicle-launched smoke instantly forms into a thick cloud and will take roughly less than five seconds to completely conceal the entire vehicle and its surroundings.

The generators are usually controlled by the vehicle's commander (or gunner in some cases), and will have access to a maximum of two charges. Further vehicle charges must be rearmed either at a nearby supply crate or logistical vehicle.

ArmA 3

ArmA 3-era smoke grenades and UGL rounds

« Smoke grenades are great for screening units and signaling. The angle of the throw has a great influence on its distance. Various smoke colors can be very useful when simultaneously marking more areas.
Field Manual

Smoke grenades in ArmA 3 are available in the same colour varieties and forms as their predecessors. Once again, they can be found in either handheld or UGL-launched forms, along with being a defensive countermeasure system on most armoured ground vehicles. Some waterborne vessels are also capable of deploying smoke countermeasures, though their functionality is completely identical to their ground vehicle counterparts.

Except for vehicle smokes (which form instantly), they will still need two seconds to begin dispersing and last for a total of 60 seconds after detonating. Ten to fifteen seconds will be required for the plume to form completely before it is "safe" to move through.

However, UGL smoke rounds are no longer weapon-specific and can be loaded regardless of the grenade launcher's model (i.e. a NATO 3GL can load the same 40 mm smoke shells used by the CSAT CAR-95 GL). Handheld smokes do not need to be primed either as the user can simply throw them on command.

Self-propelled howitzer vehicles like the 2S9 Sochor or M4 Scorcher can fire artillery smoke shells, which can provide instant screening clouds for friendly ground forces many kilometres away. The man-portable Mk6 Mortar can also be loaded to fire smoke shells, though the plume will be smaller. In both cases, the smoke shells are long-lasting and can provide concealment for up to 180 seconds.

ARMA Reforger

Reforger-era smoke grenades

Field Manual

Smoke grenades in ARMA Reforger are now side-specific and are no longer universally shared between BLUFOR and REDFOR factions. The U.S. military uses the AN-M8 HC and M18 while Soviet forces and FIA guerillas utilise the RDG-2 smoke shell.


  • In all games prior to Reforger, the models for smoke grenades (regardless of faction) are based directly on the real-world "AN-M8 HC" (for white smoke grenades) and the "M18" smoke/signalling grenades.
    • Although appropriate for U.S. military forces, neither grenade make much sense as standard-issue equipment for REDFOR factions like the Russian Armed Forces (ArmA 2) or CSAT (ArmA 3). A more sensible counterpart in either case would have been the Russian-made "RDG" series of smoke grenades.
    • Even other BLUFOR factions such as the German KSK are inaccurately depicted with using the AN-M8 and M18. The real-world Bundeswehr utilises its own set of smoke grenades that are usually designated with the "DM" prefix.
  • In reality, ArmA 3's UGL-fired smoke shells should not be interchangeable with each other as shown in-game.
    • NATO's MX 3GL for example, is designed to launch 40×46 mmSR low-velocity smoke shells designated as either "M6xx" or "M7xx" (with xx being replaced with numbers depending on the colour of the smoke).
    • Pacific CSAT CAR-95 GL's should be using Chinese-made 35 mm "DFR-91" smoke grenades instead. Likewise, the GP-25 on Syndikat's AK-12 should only be capable of loading "VG-40MD" caseless 40 mm grenade rounds.

External links

See also

Non-lethal BinocularsChemlightsCompassFlaresFlashlightsGPSInfrared StrobesLaser DesignatorMine DetectorNight Vision GogglesRadiosRangefindersSmoke GrenadesSpectrum DeviceToolkitUAV TerminalWatch
Lethal ExplosivesHand GrenadesLandminesUnderbarrel grenade launcher (Cold War Assault, Armed Assault, ArmA 2, ArmA 3, Reforger)
Medical BandageFirst Aid KitMedikit