Bomb bay


Bomb bay

:"The older name of the Indian city of Mumbai, is correctly spelled "Bombay"."

The bomb bay on some military aircraft is a compartment, usually in the aircraft's fuselage, featuring an openable hatch (usually referred to as "bomb bay doors"). The bomb bay contains the bombs, which are dropped through the opened bay doors while the bomber is over its target or at its specified launching point.

Full-sized bombs (typically nuclear weapons) are dropped from hook-type releases or bomb cradles. When a bomber carries many smaller bombs (e.g. iron bombs, JDAMs), the bombs are typically loaded onto mechano-electrical devices known as ejector racks, which allow for larger bomb loads to be dropped with greater accuracy.

Guided missiles (in this case, usually referred to as "stand-off missiles") are often carried in the bomb bays of modern aircraft; the missiles are dropped from the aircraft and then accelerate into autonomous flight while the bomber aircraft "stands off" at a safe distance from the target.

Bomb bays were born of necessity. Early military aircraft could not survive the aerodynamic disadvantage of having bombs hanging from the wings or dangling below the fuselage. Therefore, early military aviation designers moved the bombs to inside the aircraft, and let them be deployed through a mechanically-operated hatch.

Traditionally, only bomber aircraft have had bomb bays, and in fighters and attack airplanes any ordnance other than guns and cannon have to be hung from the wings or fuselage. Notable exceptions include the F-101, F-102 and F-106 interceptors. Today, many designers have moved previously "external" stores into multifunction "weapons bays", capable of carrying air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, drop tanks, and other military "stores" and deploying them rapidly in a battle. Examples of modern U.S. fighters with weapons bays are the F-117 Nighthawk, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. This change in design principle reflects not a desire for improved aerodynamic performance, but rather a desire for greater stealth. Military fighters have seen a tremendous reduction in the size of their radar cross-sections, but large racks of missiles and bombs hanging below the wings return very distinct radar signatures. To defeat this effect, designers have put these weapons inside the fuselage.

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* Hardpoint


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Look at other dictionaries:

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