Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, Boscom Down, UK, Circa 1995
As a result of experiences in both the ‘91 Gulf War and the ‘92-’95 Bosnian conflict, AVPRO U.K. Ltd began work on an Extraction/Insertion (EXINT) pod
capable of carrying a single passenger, as well as some light equipment, beneath the wings of a Harrier (though other aircraft were also envisaged).
The pods would be equipped with oxygen and an A/C system to allow higher altitude flight, as well as a communications link to the pilot. EXINT pods would also be fitted with a GPS beacon and parachute, so that if the pilot had to jettison a (hopefully empty) pod, it would land safely and be recovered.
The idea was not a new one, with RAF Spitfires having canvas “Man bags” which would strap to the gun barrels and were capable of carrying a person above the wing.
A number of de Havilland Mosquitos, operated by BOAC, were modified to carry passengers in the bomb bay with a com hookup and oxygen mask. Physicist Neils Bohr was smuggled out of Sweden and over Nazi-occupied Norway in such a plane. On the other side of the pond, the US developed an aluminum and perspex pod to allow passengers to be carried by P-38 Lightning fighters.
It’s unknown how far beyond fit checks of a prototype pod AVPRO actually got. There are no records of passenger actually being carried, but issues were raised over noise and heat from the Harrier’s Pegasus engine, as well as problems with firing the aircraft’s weapons, and issues with g-loading on the passenger due to how far the pod hangs from the aircraft’s axis of rotation, so it’s likely airborne tests were carried out at some point.
McDonnell Douglas supposedly produced their own passenger pods, known as G.R.I.E.R. (Ground Rescue Insertion Extraction Resupply) for US AV-8Bs, but info on these is limited/not yet declassified, and there’s NO pictures that I’ve found.
Addenda: Kicking myself for forgetting about this, but for anyone who watched M*A*S*H, there’s also the Bell 47/H-13 Sioux, which could be fitted with two medevac panniers with acrylic windscreens.