While attempting to create a Kfir in 3D modelling software, I noticed a bulge under the engine on the reference picture (a 2D side view) I was using, which I initially assumed to be a fin. After looking at some 3D images of it, however, it is far too wide to be a fin:

Bulge under Kfir

There is a similar bulge in the same position on the Mirage III:

Bulge under Mirage III

The Atlas Cheetah and Mirage 5 both have a bulge in that position as well, although every non-Mirage-III-based Mirage seems to lack it. The Mirage 2000 has a bulge in a similar location; however, it appears to be much smaller:

Bulge under Mirage 2000

My initial thoughts were either ECM or some kind of fuel tank. Does anyone else know what it might be?

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    $\begingroup$ Can't speak of the Mirages, but on the Kfir it's a fuel tank plus flares dispenser (the red squares) and RWR antenna (the black square). I wouldn't rule out a fuel tank on the Mirage as well, but on the 2000 it appears to be too small to hold any significant amount of fuel $\endgroup$ – DeepSpace Jan 1 '20 at 15:23

For the Mirage III, it's a fuel tank (that also allows a camera attachment). See cutaway below (item 157).

Also from Wikipedia:

The Mirage IIIRS could also carry a centerline pod for conducting photo reconnaissance missions, as well as an integral fuel tank underneath the aft belly; this tank could carry a smaller fuel load, but also allowed for a rear-facing film camera to also be added. When fitted with the reconnaissance pod, supersonic performance was severely diminished.

enter image description here
Source: aviadejavu.ru (composite of two pages: 16-1.jpg and 16-2.jpg; use links for full-res)

  • $\begingroup$ It seems from this picture that this tank can be replaced with a rocket engine. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Jun 11 '20 at 12:17

It was known as the "rocket bay" tank. The original Mirage III had a rocket fitted there, for maximum climb performance to intercept the ruskies coming over from the east.

Later models, including the Aussie Mirage III O, had the rocket system removed and replaced by a fuel tank. Wikipedia refers. If you look closely, you'll see the outline of the rocket bay: rectangular-shaped, with the faired piece extending rearwards. The tank could be removed.

It looks as though the Kfir has got a equipment pod in there.

I don't know what the small hump on the M2000 is.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there any source to support the claim of a "rocket bay"? $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Apr 24 '20 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ OP did not refer to the JATO mounting locations. pbs.twimg.com/media/BkNQohlCIAEkml4.jpg $\endgroup$ – DeepSpace Apr 24 '20 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ @DeepSpace this picture seems to support this answer. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Jun 11 '20 at 12:11

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