[Photo] Man-carrying pod used on U.S. P-38 Lightning during WWII

Exint pods, man-carrying pods used to insert or exifiltrate special forces or wounded soldiers were not only tested British Harriers and AH-64 Apache and certified for Israeli AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.

The concept dates back to World War 2 when “body-bags” or wing-mounted enclosures were tested on British Spitfires as well as Stuka dive bombers and ME 109 fighters. Tests were conducted even in the U.S.

Dan Nelson, a reader of this blog sent us some pictures, reportedly taken in 1944, showing casualty evacuation pods attached to an F-5, the reconnaissance variant of the P-38 Lightining.


Image credit: via Dan Nelson


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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.


  1. Neils Bohr, the atomic bomb scientist, could have used one of these. When during WW2 he fled the Nazis and escaped to Sweden, the UK sent a special Mosquito transport to pick him up. He was stashed on a mattress in the Mosquito’s bomb bay and was supposed to wear an oxygen mask but did not hear the command to turn on the oxygen and so passed out when the aircraft rose above 10,000 feet. Fortunately, he was revived, none the worse for wear, when the Mosquito was about to land in England. A pod like this could have served as a more secure means of transport than a drafty bomb bay.

  2. The Russians used people pods on aircraft a while before WW2, like the passenger version of the Polikarpov R-5 that carried up to 16 people prone under the wings and was used to rescue an Arctic Expedition in 1934 or thereabouts, or the Po-2 ambulance that used wing pods to carry casualties during the war.

  3. “Bombs away!”

    “Wait! that’s not a bomb we’re carrying!”

    (Yelling out the window) “Sorry, Johnson. Can you try to break as many things as you can after you hit?”

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