Mirage III offshoots like Kfir made by Israel Aircraft Industries:


or Cheetah converted by South-African manufacturer Atlas Aviation:


both have canards.

The original Mirage III designed by French manufacturer Dassault has no canards:

Mirage III

What is the reason for such addition in variants?

Source for all pictures.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I guess a better question would be what was so compelling to add them on the derivative aircraft. Explaining a lack of something may be difficult: if the aircraft performs as designed to, why add more complexity? Engineers don't (usually) add complex stuff just for fun. $\endgroup$
    – Zeus
    Aug 20, 2021 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ Probably for maneuverability. $\endgroup$ Aug 20, 2021 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


The original delta Mirage was designed as an interceptor, basically to get there as soon as possible and try to stop a threat such as a nuclear bomber. Speed was important above all else (except of course having enough stability to fly, where deltas also excel).

Canards are added for maneuverability for use as a point defender. As range is not critical for this task, the design remains viable today, but is being supplemented with stealth.

Many of the older reconnaissance/interceptors, such as the A-12/SR71 and the F15 Eagle, are still among the fastest ever flown.

  • $\begingroup$ and of course there was an idea to add winglets to the F-15 but it didn't make it past the state of a few (maybe even a single) technology demonstrator. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Aug 24, 2021 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ Also one could add that improved computer control (relaxed stability) allowed them to added as upgrades to older airframe designs. Their effect on top speed would make an interesting study. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2021 at 15:09

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