A weapon bay is the part of an aircraft that takes a drop armament. Usually these are guided or unguided bombs . It can also be torpedoes , sonar buoys , cruise missiles or missiles . The weapon bay is closed when cruising and can be opened to drop weapons. In rare cases the weapon bay is pressurized or accessible to the crew during the flight. The weapon bay is not necessarily part of the airframe . Engine fairings can also accommodate weapon bays.
Inside the weapon bay are the weapon holders in so-called locks (also: bomb locks). There are precautions to program the weapon before it is released, for example to transmit target data, and to arm the weapon.
The weapon bay was introduced into combat aircraft construction in the 1930s in order to be able to transport weapons at higher flight speeds in an aerodynamically favorable manner. Since only bombs were initially transported, it was initially called the bomb bay. In the military airships and aircraft of World War I, these devices were simply called bomb mounts. In the case of airships, some of them were already housed internally.
In modern machines with camouflage properties, the entire armament is carried in internal shafts in order to avoid radar beam reflections.