Mar 16, 2013
The device you refer to is called a splitter plate. It is mounted just forward of both intakes on the fuselage side. The forward part of the plate is stationary. The aft portion is movable and is controled by a sensors mounted inside both intakes and is designed to limit the amount of air injested by the J-79 at high speed, usually in excess of Mach 1 and during critical manuvering during dogfighting. I know of no instances of a splitter being the cause of an engine failure.
And we had to punch out once... as a result of taking AAA ground fire.