Weapons Bay of J20 Revealed

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A clear view of the 2nd prototype J20 flying low with weapons bay open. The configuration shown here carries four radar-guided Beyond Visual Range air/air missiles. Additional weapons bays on the fuselage sides can also carry passive, heat-seeking AAM.
The open weapon's bay was captured on one of a recent test flight. Note the folding hinged panels clearing a large, unobstructed opening for large, outsized payloads. Photo: China Defence Mashup
The open weapon’s bay was captured on one of a recent test flight. Photo: China Defense Mashup

Defense Update VideoReport presents a remix depicting selected moments from J-20 test flights, captured by Chinese amateur photographers on the Chengdu airfield perimeter. A recent shot captured another interesting aspect of the aircraft – the opened cover of the main weapon’s bay.

The storage and release of weapons from these containers seems to be different from the method used by US aircraft designers.

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The folding hinged panels clearing a large, unobstructed opening for large, outsized payloads.

The J20 seems to use expandable weapons mounts that position the weapon into the air stream before launch, similar to a conventional (non stealth) pylon. For the fuselage weapon bay the panel design is also different from the US method employed in the F-22, F-35 and B-2 – the Chinese stealth fighter use folding panels that clear much larger opening for the weapon’s bay.

Although this method generates considerable drag and radar reflection, the larger, unobstructed opening is more suitable to accomodate outsized ordnance. This method also clears more space for multiple weapons, unlike the confined storage space used in the F-35 that leaves only minimal clearance for specific weapons systems.

A clear view of the 2nd prototype J20 flying low with weapons bay open. The configuration shown here carries four radar-guided Beyond Visual Range air/air missiles. Additional weapons bays on the fuselage sides can also carry passive, heat-seeking AAM.
A clear view of the 2nd prototype J20 flying low with weapons bay open. The configuration shown here carries four radar-guided Beyond Visual Range air/air missiles. Additional weapons bays on the fuselage sides can also carry similar weapons or passive, heat-seeking AAMs.
J20 preparing to a flight test carrying a dummy missile in its starboard weapon bay.
J20 preparing to a flight test carrying a dummy missile in its starboard weapon bay. The main (fuselage) weapon’s bay door also seems open.