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J-20 Stealth Fighter Doors Explained

This Friday morning -- more like midday --  is going to be devoted to stealth jets here at DT. Look at the above picture of China's J-20 Stealth jet. See that big open door just forward of the main landing gear? My colleague Phil Ewing recently asked me if it's the opening for another weapons or equipment bay.

While I'm no expert on this fighter, I think we can say that we're seeing the main landing gear bay. Look at the photos below and notice how the gear should fold forward into that open bay.

Chalk any confusement up to grainy pictures of the plane combined with the layout of the forward-folding landing gear and the placement of the bay door. Keep in mind that the door could also provide maintainers access to other internal systems on the plane in addition to accommodating the landing gear.

You can see in the last photo below how that open gear door looks like it wasn't meant for the landing gear.

The real mystery surrounding the giant plane is; what will it be used for?

My guess is that it's a high-speed interceptor along the lines of the famous MiG-25 Foxbat and MiG-31 Foxhound or that it's meant to be a penetrating, F-111 or F-15E-style weapons truck designed to strike heavily defended targets like air bases or carrier battle groups. As you can see in this video, it certainly appears to have the weapons carrying capacity for either of these missions.

Click through the jump for pictures.

 

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