Man-carrying, Under-Wing Pods Carried By Fighter Jets And Helicopters

AH-64 Exint pod (Image credit: Militaryphotos.net)

Let’s have a look at the EXINT pods, man-carrying pods for combat aircraft.

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, do 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 and 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.

Exint 1
Exint pod on an RAF Harrier.

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 as they are exfiltrated from the area of operations during a training mission.

Mangusta special forces
A-129 Mangusta of the Esercito Italiano (Italian Army) with two soldiers hanging on the landing gear legs. (Image credit: The Aviationist/Giovanni Maduli).

H/T to Bjørn Broten for the heads-up

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

5 Comments

  1. nice pics but this is rather old stuff, i think i remember the exfil pod being marketed at Bourget 1998 or another fair close to that

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