ElpinDAB
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B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:23 pm

I have read in some places (sorry, I cannot recall where) that the B-1B design was actually copied from the Tupolev TU-160, not vice versa like I had always believed. Most other sources that I have read just give the broad statement that the TU-160 was designed in response to the B-1 project. This still doesn't clear up the matter though because there might have been a great deal us spying on each other while the projects were still in their infancy, before any blueprints were ever drawn up.

Does anybody know anything about this topic and who did the copying, or is this just another bit of lost Cold War history?
 
BAE146QT
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:52 pm

According to Wikipedia, (Your Mileage May Vary), the B1 was designed 1973-74.

On the other hand, the TU 160 was designed 1972-73 as a response to the North American XB-70.

Not conclusive, but it would suggest that you're right.
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sovietjet
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:08 pm

Neither one copied the other. The Tu-160 was itself a modified version of the Myasischev M-18 project which was designed in 1970. Interestingly many different layouts were being considered at the time with some more advanced ones being rejected. Also in those days, "swing wings" were still popular. These factors certainly led to a similar outcome on both sides.
 
2enginesonly
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:29 pm

The design proposal which was the closest to the final configuration of the B-1 was from 1969. Somewhere in the middle of 1971 the basic configuration had stabilized and the final mock-up was ready in December 1971.....3 years before first flight.
Source: Aviation Fact File / Modern Fighting Aircraft 'B-1B' written by Mike Spick.

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prebennorholm
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:08 am

I don't believe in any "copying" between the B-1 and the Tu-160. Just like all subsonic airliners during the last 50 years look exactly equal (except for number of engines and engines mounted on wing or tail), then a four engined supersonic swing-wing low altitude penetration bomber just has to look exactly as a B-1 or Tu-160.

The Tu-26 Backfire and the FB-111 also shared the same concept. Even if they did have a slightly more different look.

Put turboprop engines on a B-52, and it is as equal to a Tu-20 Bear as a Tu-160 to a B-1. Well, the B-52 is a lot larger than the Bear, but also the Tu-160 is much larger than the B-1.

It is more interesting how Convair with the B-58 Hustler and Tupolev with the Tu-22 Blinder came up with two so totally different concepts. My guess is that in the late 50'es Tupolev knew that a high altitude bomber over western territory would be knocked down by a SAM. While Convair didn't know that a high altitude supersonic bomber couldn't fly uninterrupted over Russia.

Until 1st May 1960 when - big surprise - Gary Powers and his Lockheed U-2 was knocked out of the sky by a SA-2 Guideline salvo over Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinenburg).

How long time did the B-58 spend in service? Was it three years?

It wasn't until almost a decade later in the middle of the Vietnam War that the USAF learned to jam the SA-2 guidance with Douglas RB-68 jammer planes.

[Edited 2007-02-05 22:10:29]
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KevinSmith
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:46 am

Quoting BAe146QT (Reply 1):
(Your Mileage May Vary)

I found other info. The Air Force Museum says the B-1 prototype started being built in late 1972. One could venture to guess that the program then started in 1971 or earlier.

The info that I found for the Tu-160 says the project started in 1975.

There's a reason the Blackjack is called the B-one-beeskie.

Links:
Tu-160
B-1

[Edited 2007-02-05 22:47:05]
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ptrjong
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:02 am

According to Bill Gunston's Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft, the Tu-160 programm was launched 1973 and was indeed a response tot the B-1.

That said, Preben is absolutely right. No copying, no stealing of blueprints, just (as usual) similar solutions reached, although the Tu-160 is rather bigger (180 vs 150 feet) and heavier (600,000 vs 400,000 lb) than the B-1.

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KevinSmith
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:55 am

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 4):
SA-2

Was it a 2? I knew that his plane went down by other means than the US's first official story.
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sovietjet
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:44 pm

The program was actually launched in 1972 but the M-18 design which was copied by Tupolev was started in 1969-1970. There was actually three different designs which entered the contest. Myasischev with the M-18, Sukhoi with the T-4MS(this is not the same as the T-4 that was built and flown. It looked more like an "Aurora" with swing wings) and Tupolev with his "aircraft 160M" which was similar to the Tu-144 in structure.

When the three projects were unveiled, Tupolev's was disappointing which led to Aleksey Tupolev ripping the blueprint in half and apologizing to everybody for trying to sell them a "reworked Tu-144". The M-18 met all criteria and the Sukhoi T-4MS did as well. Eventually the T-4MS was declared winner because Myasischev's recently reborn bureau did not have the necessary facilities for prototype construction since its former plant No.23 was now producing missiles.

Sukhoi was declared winner, however in order to build a prototype, factory No. 22 would need to be assigned to him and nobody would let that happen. Besides, his bureau was busy designing the T-10(Su-27) and refining the existing Su-17/22 and Su-24. It was decided for Tupolev to continue the work, being a dedicated bomber design bureau. The Myasischev and Sukhoi bureaux were then asked to give Tupolev all their research and blueprints regarding the M-18 and T-4MS. Tupolev rejected the T-4MS and the rest is history.

So, yes the Tu-160 is a copy, but not a copy of the B-1.

On a personal note, it would have been cool if they had chosen to go with the T-4MS:


 
FlyUSCG
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:44 pm

I'm sure this will be torn apart, but without knowing that much about specifics about each countries programs... did the U.S. build ANYTHING in response to the Soviets? It seems as if the Soviets were always playing the catch-up game (when it comes down to USA responding to USSR and vice-versa). So feel free to rip into me but be gentle. It's just something I've noticed after watching wings/history/military channel for years. Oh yeah... I'm pretty sure the F-111 was a response to a soviet design or at least took some stuff from it so don't lump that in with the above statements. I specifically remember the landing gear?
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Boeing4ever
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:50 pm

The F-15 was a panicked response to the MiG-25. In the end, the USAF ended up with one of the best air superiority fighters out there while the Russians had designed a supersonic interceptor (on of the fastest). The MiG-25's performance was rumored to be near mythical proportions hence the money invested in the Eagle. The myth was dispelled when a Soviet pilot defected with his MiG-25 to Japan.


edit: I should add that the Soviets then had to respond to the F-15 which led to the Su-27.

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[Edited 2007-02-06 06:52:26]
 
L-188
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:54 pm

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 10):
In the end, the USAF ended up with one of the best air superiority fighters out there while the Russians had designed a supersonic interceptor (on of the fastest).

The Mig-25 itself was a paniced response to the B-70 program.
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keesje
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:30 pm

I think it's a kind of "cold warish" to discredit the brilliant designers / design bureaus on both sides by simply dismissing their designs as copies.

taking a close look at comparable designs on both sides reveals substantial differences, looking in more detail makes it clear they really are totally different aircraft.

Sovietjet thanks for the very intersesting background info. It's a joy for all of us to take notice of the conflicts, struggles and victories within the former USSR aeropace industry.

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Arniepie
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:30 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 11):
The Mig-25 itself was a paniced response to the B-70 program.

And said to be based upon the Vigilante (the 25 that is).
[edit post]
 
7474ever
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:14 pm

Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 9):
F-111 was a response to a soviet design or at least took some stuff from it so don't lump that in with the above statements.

Well, I think the SU-24 was a response to the F-111. They look quiet similar.

The F-111 "Aardwark: :


Big version: Width: 300 Height: 250 File size: 12kb


The Su-24 "Fencer" :


Big version: Width: 500 Height: 253 File size: 19kb


Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 9):
I specifically remember the landing gear?

Maybe the landing gear of the Mig-23 "Flogger" ?


The Su-25 "Frogfoot"...

Big version: Width: 500 Height: 335 File size: 35kb


...looks suspiciously similar to the YA-9, which was a (looser) competitor to the A-10 "Warthog". According to the rumours, the Russian spies managed to steal the YA-9's blueprints, that's why the Su-25 looks like the YA-9, not the A-10.

Big version: Width: 1024 Height: 768 File size: 64kb



Well, no comment about this one :

The Concorde :

Big version: Width: 650 Height: 381 File size: 54kb


The Tu-144 :

Big version: Width: 400 Height: 244 File size: 19kb


The Tu-4 "Bull"...

Big version: Width: 450 Height: 252 File size: 13kb


...is an exact, unlicensed copy of the B-29 "Superfotress" :

Big version: Width: 561 Height: 358 File size: 21kb
 
7474ever
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:35 pm

However, I don't think the Tu-160 is a copy of the B-1.

[Edited 2007-02-06 13:42:17]
 
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ptrjong
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:21 pm

Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 9):
the U.S. build ANYTHING in response to the Soviets?

The F-104 was designed very much in response to the MiG-15.

The Tu-4 was of course a copy of the B-29 (because the B-29 was such a technology leap, and even then Tupolev didn't like it but Stalin insisted on it), and the Tu-144 was of course very much influenced by Concorde.

But otherwise, these 'copying' stories are sooo 1950s.

Quoting 7474ever (Reply 14):
suspiciously similar to the YA-9

 rotfl 
Come one, does anyone really think Soviet designers needed A-9 prints to design the Su-25? That copying would even be advantageous to them, given different engines, different standard systems, etc.?

When Western aircraft look like each other, nobody says a word. When a Soviet aircraft looks remotely like a Western aircraft, it's suddenly espionage.
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KevinSmith
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:17 am

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 16):
The Tu-4 was of course a copy

So much so that the Tu-4's rudder pedals said "Boeing"
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keesje
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:40 am

"
Well, no comment about this one :

The Concorde :
The Tu-144 :
"

The mother of all aviation urban legends, in reality it's a totally different aircraft & flew before Concorde..

Lets face it folks, perhaps the dictatorial, surpressed, socialist, bureaucratic, undemocratic reds had happy, brilliant & creative aerospace designers too. Maybe they even had some fun now and then..

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sovietjet
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:42 am

Interesting story about the Tu-4. Stalin had ordered the Tu-4 to be copied down to the "very last bolt". Tupolev had found some things unnecessary however he didn't dare challenge Stalin's order. In the end all Tu-4s were produced with a portable camera in the navigator's compartment. Nobody knew the prupose of this camera so it just sat there. Eventually it was found that the navigator of the defected B-29 had forgotten his personal camera onboard. Since Stalin had ordered everything copied, that got copied into all production examples. Also, the Tu-4 ended up heavier than the B-29 because of the conversion from English to metric.
 
7474ever
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:22 am

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 16):
When Western aircraft look like each other, nobody says a word. When a Soviet aircraft looks remotely like a Western aircraft, it's suddenly espionage.

Spending most of my life in a communist country - yes, there's a very good chance it is. Period.

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 19):
Interesting story about the Tu-4. Stalin had ordered the Tu-4 to be copied down to the "very last bolt". Tupolev had found some things unnecessary however he didn't dare challenge Stalin's order. In the end all Tu-4s were produced with a portable camera in the navigator's compartment. Nobody knew the prupose of this camera so it just sat there. Eventually it was found that the navigator of the defected B-29 had forgotten his personal camera onboard. Since Stalin had ordered everything copied, that got copied into all production examples. Also, the Tu-4 ended up heavier than the B-29 because of the conversion from English to metric.

Thanks Sovietjet, nice story !

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 16):
Come one, does anyone really think Soviet designers needed A-9 prints to design the Su-25?

You don't know much about communist regimes, do you...?

Quoting Keesje (Reply 18):
The mother of all aviation urban legends, in reality it's a totally different aircraft & flew before Concorde..

 rotfl 
 
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Stitch
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:59 am

Quoting Arniepie (Reply 13):


Quoting L-188,reply=11:
The Mig-25 itself was a paniced response to the B-70 program.

And said to be based upon the Vigilante (the 25 that is).

While I fully agree that "form follows function" and as such two things designed for the same mission will more often then not appear similar in many aspects, I always jokingly wondered if the KGB headed North American-Rockwell's design bureau:

The MiG-25's similarities to the A-5B Vigilante
The Tu-160's similarities to the B-1 Lancer
The Buran's similarities to the Space Shuttle Orbiter
 
sovietjet
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:02 am

You guys can't be serious. While there was some espionage regarding the Tu-144 it was not a copy. I don;t wanna open this can of worms...but internally the two planes are very different. Exteriors can be deceiving. About the Su-24/F-111 idea...the only thing they copied was the ejection blast shield between the pilots.
 
KevinSmith
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:07 am

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 22):
F-111 idea...the only thing they copied was the ejection blast shield between the pilots

I thought the F-111's entire crew compartment was jettisoned during ejection not just the seats.
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L-188
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:14 am

Quoting Keesje (Reply 12):
I think it's a kind of "cold warish" to discredit the brilliant designers / design bureaus on both sides by simply dismissing their designs as copies.

Agreed, the only 2 soviet designs that are actual copies are the TU-4 and the Li-2. And I think the latter was actually a license production aircraft.

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 19):
Interesting story about the Tu-4. Stalin had ordered the Tu-4 to be copied down to the "very last bolt". Tupolev had found some things unnecessary however he didn't dare challenge Stalin's order. In the end all Tu-4s were produced with a portable camera in the navigator's compartment. Nobody knew the prupose of this camera so it just sat there. Eventually it was found that the navigator of the defected B-29 had forgotten his personal camera onboard. Since Stalin had ordered everything copied, that got copied into all production examples. Also, the Tu-4 ended up heavier than the B-29 because of the conversion from English to metric.

I have heard that story too, and I have also heard that it is an urban legend. Who knows, I also understand that Stalin had some issues with Tupolev prior to the war.

But it is true that parts from at least 1 of the US B-29's that went down in the Soviet Far East where used in one of the prototype aircraft.
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sovietjet
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:20 pm

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 23):
I thought the F-111's entire crew compartment was jettisoned during ejection not just the seats.

You know I might be wrong on that, but they did copy something about the cockpit, it might be the side-by-side arrangement. Either way the rest of the plane is legit, during those times everything was being built with swing wings. F-111, F-14, Mig-23, Su-17, Tornado....
 
KevinSmith
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:45 pm

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 23):

I thought the F-111's entire crew compartment was jettisoned during ejection not just the seats.

Ejection Module

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 25):
You know I might be wrong on that

No worries man. As the saying goes if I had a nickel for everytime I was wrong I'd be a millionare. dollarsign  sly  dollarsign 
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fvtu134
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:36 pm

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 10):
The F-15 was a panicked response to the MiG-25. In the end, the USAF ended up with one of the best air superiority fighters out there while the Russians had designed a supersonic interceptor (on of the fastest). The MiG-25's performance was rumored to be near mythical proportions hence the money invested in the Eagle. The myth was dispelled when a Soviet pilot defected with his MiG-25 to Japan.


edit: I should add that the Soviets then had to respond to the F-15 which led to the Su-27.

Which is now considered in its turn to be the best dogfighting machine on the planet (yes I know about the F22's capabilities but in my opinion sitting at 50 NM and fire missiles from your lazy ass is not a manly thing... Smile)

Quoting L-188 (Reply 24):
But it is true that parts from at least 1 of the US B-29's that went down in the Soviet Far East where used in one of the prototype aircraft.

Actually, three aircraft made an unscheduled landing in the soviet union (somewhere in Siberia) and the decision was made at the highest level to copy the aircraft, as was described in an earlier reply. Actually, the current-day Tu-95 Bear is a direct descendant from the B-29 Bomber
who decided that a Horizon should be HORIZONtal???
 
L-188
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RE: B1 A Copy Of TU-160 Or Vice Versa?

Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:56 pm

Quoting FVTu134 (Reply 27):
Actually, three aircraft made an unscheduled landing in the soviet union (somewhere in Siberia) and the decision was made at the highest level to copy the aircraft, as was described in an earlier reply. Actually, the current-day Tu-95 Bear is a direct descendant from the B-29 Bomber

Absolutely correct.
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