[Photo] Man-carrying, under-wing pods capable of being fitted to fighter jets and helicopters
It’s almost impossible to imagine the self discipline required to be stuck inside one of those for long periods of time but, believe it or not, Exint pods, man-carrying pods designed to be carried by fast jets and choppers exist.
They were conceived as an alternate method of inserting and extracting special forces (or wounded soldiers) and were developted by AVPRO UK Ltd in the late 1990s. They were reportedly tested on the Harrier jump jet, the AH-64 Apache and, according to some sources, were as still are certified for use on the Israeli AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.
Bjørn Broten, a reader of The Aviationist has found a couple of images of the Exint pods on a militaryphotos.net forum thread.
According to several sources, a similar pod, dubbed GRIER (Ground Rescue Insertion Extraction Resupply) was designed by the McDonnell Douglas for the AV-8B Harrier, but it was never used (or, at least, there is no evidence of it being used) most probably because of the proximity of the pylon used to carry the pod to the noisy rotating jet nozzles of the Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine.
More recently, Special Forces have been carried on the weapon-carrying stub wings attack helicopters: the image below shows an Italian Army A-129 Mangusta chopper carrying two soldiers hanging from the helicopter’s landing gear legs.
Image credit: Militaryphotos.net & The Aviationist’s Giovanni Maduli
H/T to Bjørn Broten for the heads-up