The EXINT Pod
Someone, somewhere, somehow, thought this was a good idea!
It is not an April Fools joke
A different age perhaps and I wonder if they were ever used operationally?
The EXINT Man Carrying Pod was designed by a British company called AVPRO for carriage by the Harrier, each outer wing hard point being able to carry a single Extraction/Insertion (EXINT) pod.
Each 4m long pod was designed to carry two people, or an equivalent weight in stores and equipment.
It wasn’t just a hairbrained scheme thought up by some mad professor but a direct result of operational experience in the Gulf and Balkans conflicts where the extraction of downed aircrew and covert insertion beyond helicopter ranges of special forces personnel. The pod itself was equipped with full oxygen and heating systems to enable the carriage of personnel at high speeds and altitudes and was even fitted with a satellite assisted recovery system with a parachute, should the pilot be forced to jettison the pod.
The design evolved to one that could only take a single person but in a much lighter pod.
Although Defence Evaluation and Research Agency completed fit checks on a Sea Harrier and GR.5, live trials, with actual real people were not carried out.
The pods were also shown with Apache helicopters and it was rumoured that Israel bought some of the initial production run, made by Hunting Engineering.
They were even thinking ahead to the F35
Of course, nothing in this world is new
The image above shows a Spitfire with canvas ‘man bags’ that were hooked over the protruding gun barrels.
There is also the current method of personnel carriage on the Apache, without the pod