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I think I read once that they served to cool the on-board computer systems, but I'm not sure.

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It's for keeping the boundary layer flow from entering the intake, it's called a splitter plate. I think it's done to prevent turbulence inside the turbine (prevent compressor stall) and to make sure the intake doesn't ingest slow air, to maximize efficiency.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm guessing this is because the intakes are so close to the fuselage that they have this. Otherwise, the boundary layer shouldn't be an issue since in most other aircraft, the intake is much further away from the fuselage. Am I right in this thinking? $\endgroup$ – ironduke97 Jun 25 '18 at 2:17
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    $\begingroup$ Have a look at the intakes of the Eurofighter or the Dassault Rafale, they have similar plates between them and the fuselage. $\endgroup$ – toniedzwiedz Jun 25 '18 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ The upper and lower arrows point to the air-path of the boundary-layer splitter. But the OP's middle arrow does point to an air intake - anyone know what that is? $\endgroup$ – RAC Jun 25 '18 at 9:09
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    $\begingroup$ @RAC that's the port that releases the chemtrails of course $\endgroup$ – BeB00 Jun 25 '18 at 11:06
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    $\begingroup$ Everybody knows chemtrails are real... it's just the crazies that fail to realize that water is a chemical. ;) $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Jun 25 '18 at 14:07
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EDIT: I'd just finished writing out my own answer when I stumbled across this answer to a different question, which nevertheless explains the function of the small intake in greater detail. I've included my answer below anyway.


A couple of people have mentioned the splitter plate, but failed to address the smaller intake set between it and the fuselage. It's very difficult to find any references to this in particular, but my first instinct was that it's probably to do with either engine cooling (Concorde has additional intakes beneath the engines for this purpose) or engine bleed air.

After a bit of reading I resorted to Wikipedia, and found the passage below:

... the Hornet uses bleed-air vents on the inboard surface of the engine air intake ducts to slow and reduce the amount of air reaching the engine.

So it seems to be a simple intake for bleed air which has the additional effect of slowing the air entering into the main intake. Incidentally, this bleed air is redirected to a slots just above over the wing, to improve the performance of the aircraft.

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  • $\begingroup$ Bleed air vents allow air to leave the main duct, i.e. they are outlets, not inlets. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Jun 26 '18 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Jan Hudec The slots above the wing are the bleed outlets. $\endgroup$ – Cooper Jun 26 '18 at 23:17
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If I remember correctly, bleed air from those tiny intakes is used for defogging the cockpit, blowing air across the front of the canopy to increase visibility under heavy rain, and pressurising the external fuel tanks.

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The rectangle in the center is the housing for the primary heat exchange. There is another heat exchange on the right side. The two "ramps" on top and bottom is to bleed off air during transonic/ supersonic flight.

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As suggested above it not an intake but rather a aerodynamic plate that keeps the boundary layer out of the engine. This is normally required for supersonic flight since the engines have to carefully manage the shock waves entering the engine. Most engine designs are not capable of operating under supersonic conditions and require that the inlet is carefully designed to create a series of shockwaves that slow down the air to an appropriate Mach number before it reaches the compressor.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ok, but just like the other answer, this misses to give an explanation for the particular intake at the tip of the central arrow. What is that intake and where does the air sucked in there go? $\endgroup$ – Scrontch Jun 26 '18 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ you may not use "above" to refer to previous answers as answers may be reordered depending on their upvotes even several month after being written. You can use the permalink instead. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Jun 27 '18 at 12:36

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