84 thoughts on “Some Examples of Soviet Technology Looking Too Similar to Western Counterparts”

  1. I get the feeling that there is and was a lot of industrial spying going on. I’d rather not take sides in this issue. How else could you explain the similarities?

    • I’ve no idea on most of the examples here except for two.

      Tu-4 is exactly a russian copy of the US B-29. during WWII, several B-29s landed in russian far east after their bombing mission on japan islands, and the soviet union built Tu-4 by reverse engineering these bombers.

      Mig-15 and F-86 were developed independently by USSR and USA, but both on blueprints that they captured in Berlin after the fall of german empire. this explains the R-1 vs German V-2 case, as they were, de facto, the same model.

      Mig-29 and F-14 are totally different, by the way. as Mig-29 is a fixed-wing model while F-14 a variable-sweep wing design. they may seem to be similar in these two photos though, to amateur eyes. the soviet F-14 counterpart are Mig-23 and its upgraded version Mig-27. yet they dont seem to be soviet F-14skii i’d say.

    • Thanks to Stalin there were no Russians left with the ingenuity to design anything.
      Everything out of Russia is a counterfeit copy, everything …

      • You always speak with foot in your mouth? TU144 was flying for 2 years before Concord. F86 was built to combat MIG15. TU160 is 2 times larger than B1. AN124 is also larger than C5. US Joint Stealth Strike Fighter F35 is modeled after YAK44. Soviet Union actually had a contract with Fiat to produce their vehicles under license. In terms of Packard and Cadillak – yes they copied them, because they liked them too much!!!

  2. Most are easily explained. During the Soviet reign many people wanted Western built cars but they were too expensive so the soviets built their own (that were not nearly as good as they were made much more cheaply and did not nearly perform as well as their western counterparts).

    Also all the Allied Countries took the German V2s after WW2 as they were so effective and all sides could forsee the cold war and wanted a strategic advantage.

    For the rest, yes a lot of spying is the case.

  3. Most, if not all, of the stuff was Russia copying west, not west copying Russia. USSR was a closed society so copying USSR/Russian style did not occur much at all since nobody knew much about what they had. TU4 bomber was a direct copy of a B29 that made an emergency landing in the USSR in WWII and was kept by Soviets.

  4. TU-4 – pirate copy of B-29
    R1 – copy of trophy V-2
    VAZ 2101 – license copy of Fiat 124 with upgrades
    other cars – possible stolen design
    Buran, T-50 (incorrect pict here), MiG-29, TU-144, AN-124, TU-160 – totally different. They have similar view with western analogs but different construction (see specifications).

    • The shuttle fleet is being retired in a year. The shuttles themselves are being sold for something like $5 million apiece. I strongly suspect the Russian Federation will purchase them. And fly them, too…

  5. For some objects form are dictated by it’s functions. As result vehicles/devices made for some purpose will look the same. For example US space shuttle have nothing in common with Buran except it’s shape. They have absolutely different launch procedure because of absolutely different engines. Same story with Tu-160 / B1 planes.

        • The TU-144 flew before Concorde because the west made sure theirs was safe first. The TU-4 is a genuine rip off of a the B29 but much of the rest merely look superficially similar because that design is the best for the job it has to accomplish. Russian machine gun bullets aren’t square are they? The T160 looks like the B1 but is almost twice the size.

          That said there’s nothing more tragic than a russian claiming that ‘all these are Russian’ when some of the western versions were built a decade before the russian version. Did Russia invent the time machine too?

          • Although I do not dispute the engineering rule that form follows funtion, but the fact is the Tu-4 “Bull” as it was coded by NATO, was reverse engineered bolt for bolt from a captured B-29 “Superfortress” that was left behind in China after or around the end of the second world war..

      • It would be more appropriate to compare the TU144 to the XB-70 Valkyrie which first flew in 1964.


  6. Regarding the B-29/Tu-4:

    There was a History Channel special on this. Stalin apparently demanded complete and utter duplication.

    One of the B-29’s had been hit by Japanese machine gun fire, and patched up before it had been forced to land in Russia.

    The reverse-engineers purposely drilled holes in the fuselage and patched them up to ensure that it was exactly the same.

  7. The Moskvich 400 actually was the Opel Kadett, as the factory was left on the east side of Germany after one war, and the production was moved to Soviet Russia.

    The Lada 2101 is the Fiat 124, although with another engine, a more efficient heater and some other changes. The production line was bought by the soviets and moved to where it still is. The production of the Fiat 125 was later moved to Poland, but it was renamed Polski Fiat 125p.

    The Moskvich 2141 is a slightly developed (Simca)Talbot 1510, tools and stuff were sold to Russia when the production of Talbots ended in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

    Then again, having seen some pictures of the inside of ZIL cars, there are many details that are copied from western cars as the Mercedes S-class.

  8. > Mig vs Sabre
    > Different aircraft both inspired by the Messerschmidt
    > planes of Germany

    Namely Me 1101. A few other designs were based on a similar plane Fw. 183 ( like Saab J29 ).

  9. Great point, Adan75
    Those who believe america is leading the way in everything is partially right: they do lead, on fat chick scale

    • Yes! People do get fat when they can afford to eat things besides just mushrooms they plucked out of the frozen tundra and the occasional pickle on special occasions!

  10. I see people have explained it already

    Anyway as Carevich said, it was a cooperation with Italy and Soviet Union. Sure the Russian version had poorer steel quality IIRC but more warmer

  11. It would be more accurate compare the MiG 15 against Kurt Tank’s Ta-183. MiG based it Mig15 in Tank’s plane!

  12. I can see this post recieving 100 comments or more!
    Russia will always keep pace with the west!I think many things get copied around the world.

    • Totally aggree, russian cars are made to be durable and rugged. And their design did not matter.
      I can’t aggree with the nissan sunny vaz 2108 comparsion, they are not the same, the nissan is longer, and has a very different engine configuration, along with many smaller differences. The 2108 was a coproduction with porsche engineers, but porsche later choose not to mass produce it, while VAZ did.

      Anyways, I can’t find many such Nissans around, that still goes, but I have a ’88 VAZ 2108, that’s still a great car, doesn’t matter if it’s 22 years old.

      I wouldn’t buy a 2107 today, but I’m shure, the 2112 or the newest 2172 would work for at least 20 years.

  13. I know some fat Russian girls from Russia who now live in the USA.In Russia they did not have a car and walked-subwayed everywhere.In the USA they drive cars and have become lazy!

  14. It is interesting to note that while the ZAZ 966/968 are copied from the NSU Prinz, the NSU Prinz itself is heavily copied from the 1960 Chevrolet Corvair. However, the Zaprozhetz is uniquely Soviet in design mechanically. This is especially true of the engine which is an air cooled V4 (MEMZ 965/966/968).

    Several of these cars were also built with the full cooperation of the Western companies that designed them. It is a well known fact that ford set up the production facilities for GAZ to produce the model A in the USSR. Likewise, Fiat worked with the Soviets when it came time to build the VAZ 2101. However, the Soviets did make many improvements that, while they did compromise the original’s more sporting nature, nevertheless gave it a far longer service life than the original. All Soviet cars were built with this sort of philosophy. They were not intended to be thrown away after a short time, but to be able to provide decades of severe duty service in the hands of an attentive owner. If I could buy one in the US market, I would probably take a new Lada 2107 over many of the cheaper cars available in this market simply because I know I could make it last for 15 years or more with regular servicing. Style is not as critical as durability when it comes to car design.

    • One must remind the public that “regular service” for USSR cars means “service 2 times a year” which is coincidentally “service every 5000km”. And I’m being generous here. Also, that regular service involves some welding to replace parts destroyed by rust.

  15. Despite all the lame copying of things, they were also inventing NEW stuff!! Sputnik!!!

    Nowadays it is the other way. Innovation is not happening.
    Read some figures here:


    Few examples:
    Germany registers more patents in one year than the Soviet Union and Russia combined over the last half century.

    Russia spends only 0.75 percent of its gross domestic product on scientific R&D, while Japan, Israel, Sweden and many other countries spend more than 3 percent of GDP.

    Pharmaceutical companies spend from 13 percent to 16 percent of earnings on R&D, and telecommunications companies — up to 19 percent. In Russia, that indicator does not exceed 0.5 percent, and such national flagship corporations like Gazprom and Rosneft spend no more than a meager 0.17 percent on R&D.

    They bottom line, no body is investing money in innovation. The spend it on ‘prestige’ short term projects at best, but most of the time on expensive h00kers and ridiculous housing.

    • seems as though you’ve got a pretty good thumb on the very integral soscioeconomical component to defense budget spending every one seems to forget about, very good point!.. and might I add for example of one of those overlooked r&d projects that never were, and the deciding factor that won the cold war for the west was the inabillity of the Soviet Union too steal or invent their own DEEC’s.. at that point all Soviet Jet engines failed to meet or exceed the performance, efficiency and power of the engines designed in the west, save the powerful Tumansky r-15b which was a a/b turbojet and the Kusnetzov tv-2f tv-12’s turboshafts w/ contrarotating props.

      • Actually, F-15 was initially only created to counter the MiG-25. Its airframe is original, heck, they don’t even look remotely similar and have a totally different purpose – F-15 was designed as an air superiority fighter (to counter the Foxbat, which later proved to be unnecessary), MiG-25 was designed as a high speed interceptor.

  16. Don’t judge these planes and cars by their outer shapes. They may look almost the same outside but the interior electronic components can be completely different. These components may comprise of 90% of the machine.

  17. A while back (post 2000 in any case) I saw a program on PBS about a team of US engineers (Boeing?)that were studying pretty closely the TU 144 and even flying with it (with lots of instrumentation inside). In addition to Russian markings it was also carrying the markings of several American organizations or companies. Whatever the TU 144’s flaws they seemed to consider that it was worthwile to have a very serious look at it. That was way before the Concorde was retired. Anyone remembers this program?

  18. 2108 looks nothing like Nissan Sunny, also 2108 design started already in mid 70’s and was inspired by the VW Golf. 2108 engine is co-designed with Porsche, otherwise the car is more or less soviet design.

  19. F-14: 1970, Mig 29: 1977. Russia copied
    Space Shuttle: 1980, Buran: 1988 Russia coppied
    Tu-144: 1968, Concorde: 1969. England/France copied
    B-29: 1942, T-4: 1947. Russia copied.
    F-86: Oct. 1947, mig-15: Dec 1947. Russia copied.
    V-2: 1942, R-1: 1948. Russia copied.
    B-1 Lancer: 1974, Tu-160: 1981. Russia copied.
    C-5 Galaxy: 1968, An-124: 1986. Russian copied.
    Raptor: 1997, T-50: 2010. Russia copied (big time).

    Damn, can’t you Russians come up with anything on your own? The sad part is, you can’t even say these “copies” are improvements over the originals. While they may look similar, all the Russian copies are generationally inferior to their American counterparts. Just sad.

  20. Some of the MIG technology was in fact “borrowed” by the US, read the details at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25

  21. aircraft stealth and space shuttle technology, russians had the know-how but not the $$time$$ to build one first, industrial spying was really harsh on them.

    sorry for the bad english…

  22. Everybody knows how desperate US was to have the technology Russia was already developing and how badly US was spying Russia!!!…….everybody knows and is very evident that US was always copying USSR in everything, absolutely in everything!, those dates posted by Jobe are incorrect since russia made the planes first and years after they release them to public!, the only copy was the one that looks like the discovery and that’s it!, all the migs are self russian creations and US F attack planes are evident copies of russians and the sukhoi T-50 is the only plane in the world that has inverted wings, soon we will see a US version of it!

    • In fact, inverts wings is a solution that gives benefit in some case, but not a major superiority in all domain.

      Inverted wings reduce trails (at the end of the wings), that gives the aircraft more agility at low speed.
      But, it makes the plane less manoeuvrable at high speed.

      And aircraft doesn’t need these type of wing to have agility, “canards” wings are higly efficient on the french Rafale, Saab Viggen, Eurofighter 2000 or the Sukhoi S-35.
      And think about the “cobra” from pilot Viktor Pougatchev with a Sukhoi s-27.

    • Erm, the T-50 is not the only plane with “inverted” wings. “Soon we’ll see a US version of it!” Uh, we already have seen a forward swept wing US design. See the X-29 – first flown in 1984. Also, see the Ju-287 prototype of WWII. Even your beloved Russians have built other forward swept wing aircraft.

      And you do realize that the Su-27 and the MiG-29 were developed to counter the US’s F-15 and F-16, right? I’m not saying either copied from each other, but I am saying the US didn’t copy the Russians. They both developed their own tech, they both also “borrowed” tech that was being worked on elsewhere.

  23. Tu-144 = copy of Concord. No problem with it that Tu flew earlier, engines, wings are different… BUT: BOEING 2707-300 ISN´T copy of Concord, as well as projects like Lockheed L-2000, Bristol 223, Dassault SSBJ, Gulfstream QSJ, Aerion SSBJ…F-14s, F-15s aren´t inspired of MiG-25…only Russians copied German technology, West not, Saturn V is cleanly american rocket, …Europe liberated only Americans… and finally MiG-29 vs F-14 …here is no problem that F-14 is 2x bigger, has variable wings, inlets are absolutelly different…simply MiG has 2 wings and 2 engines so its copy. Shall I continue?

  24. I keep wondering reading all these comments how it is not obvious to anyone what “good” and goods CCCP/Russia did/made in its glorious years. Spying/stealing was one of its capital policies. Oh, and occasionally killing its brightest minds. And by the way, if I have to trust a Boeing vs a TU, a Ford vs a Volga, I’d go for the original. True, I could not plough my field with the Ford…


    The “Concordski” has a good back story?

    British and French designers were suspicious of Russian spies trying to get hold of the supersonic airliners design.

    The British team created near-enough copies of the normal Concorde design but changed parts that would make the plane unflyable (the front wings on Russian Concorde were added for stability cause of this)

    The Russian “Concordski” flew but eventually ended up crashing at a Russian airshow and was mothballed !

  26. The Tu-144 and Concorde were completely different. With the current technology, there is no other way someone can design a supersonic airliner. Any design would be similar to both.
    The Buran and Space shuttle were different. They had different specifications, and again, with the current technology, there is no other way of designing the space shuttle. And Buran was in fact more superior in a lot of aspects. The blueprints could not of possibly been stolen from America, and the designer dreamed of Buran way before the shuttle was even made. No copy. The t-50’s design and the raptors designs are both different. Yes they are similar, but it is highly unlikely one copied off another, it is just competition. And back again to the tu-144 debate, it is highly likely that even the makers of concorde took some ideas from the tu-144. Just before the tu-144 crashed, there was a french plane right above it taking pictures of it’s front design, and the crash actually resulted in near collision.

    A lot of them werent copies, ofcourse the tu-4 was a straight copy of the b29 as stalin gave orders to do so when the b29 landed in russia. the rocket was also a straight copy when they tried to replicate the first succsessful rocket. Not all of the aircraft is copied. Cars, maybe, but aircraft, most of them are original.

    Some of the cars compared aren’t even identical to each other in many ways. This website is biased and anti-Russian. Not reliable.

  27. The level of technology rises all over the world uniformly. Stalin thus executed chased many of his scientists because he saw in Germany the Hitler a lot of similar artifacts with those created in Soviet Russia. Today’s weapon technology is still based on Hitler’s Germany and the Soviet Rwanda provided by scientists to cover themselves. Also the real level of technology the simple people learn 40 years later. And the radar was initially invoked in Greece (ie, in a wavelength of hundreds while others were looking at other frequencies) as the analysis of Greek mathematics was kept for 40 years hidden by the English ….. Now for those who say that the Chinese are copying AMERICA AND RUSSIA Yes, it is true, but to do so must be capable. Which Japanese and Korean people did it in the first place, and also Turks and Brazilians and Indians, and who can …


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