Composite laminates (CFRP, GFRP, and fiber metal composite laminates) are attractive for many applications (such as aerospace and aircraft structural components) due to their superior properties. Usually, mechanical drilling operation is an important final machining process for components made of composite laminates. However, composite laminates are regarded as hard-to-machine materials, which results in low drilling efficiency and undesirable drilling-induced delamination. Therefore, it is desirable to improve the cost-effectiveness of currently-available drilling processes and to develop more advanced drilling processes for composite laminates. Such improvement and development will benefit from a comprehensive literature review on drilling of composite laminates. This review paper summarizes an up-to-date progress in mechanical drilling of composite laminates reported in the literature. It covers drilling operations (including conventional drilling, grinding drilling, vibration-assisted twist drilling, and high speed drilling), drill bit geometry and materials, drilling-induced delamination and its suppressing approaches, thrust force, and tool wear. It is intended to help readers to obtain a comprehensive view on mechanical drilling of composite laminates. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.