In this article, I would like to refute this statement and show that there was no question of any direct copying of the speech and could not go.
The first technical proposals for a supersonic passenger aircraft (SPA) at Andreyi Tupolev bureau, were based on the projects of long-range Tu-22 bombers and strategic attack aircraft "135". As a result, the preliminary design of the Tu-144 in terms of its layout solutions repeated the design of the Tu-135P.
During the development of the aircraft layout at Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, several dozen possible options were considered. In particular, they abandoned the "normal" scheme with a horizontal tail section of the fuselage, as well as the "duck" scheme.
Myasishchev`s OKB-23 also worked on the development of the SPA. Back in the late 1950s, on the basis of technical solutions for strategic aircraft carriers M-50 / M-52, proposals were prepared for several original SPA projects (M-53, M-55A, M-55B and M-55V).
The preliminary design of the future Concorde was even more exotic: four engines in two vertical nacelles were located one above the other, the root parts of wing had a very high negative sweep, and the outer ones - the same positive. Thus, the plane in the plan resembled the letter "M".
After, the form of the European SPA became more "traditional", but it could also be very different - here are the options that the designers considered:
In the early 1960s, Boeing, Lockheed and Douglas began developing their projects. However, they did not go further than building models.
The first sketches of the Concorde appeared in 1962, and Tupolev immediately demonstrated his model of the future Tu-144. Outwardly, it looked like a copy of the Concorde, and the technical indicators of both aircraft were also very close.
Perhaps this was facilitated by an espionage operation codenamed "Brunhilde". More than 20 agents of the Soviet and Eastern European secret services were able to fairly accurately copy the drawings of the Concorde. Also, the Tu-144 was equipped with the most modern control system developed in France and obtained by espionage.
Operation Brunhilde was interrupted in 1964, when Sergei Pavlov, the organizer of many covert operations and the representative of the Soviet airline Aeroflot in Paris, was exiled to the USSR on the personal order of President Charles de Gaulle.
Charles de Gaulle inspects a model of the Concorde at the Le Bourget Air Show in 1963
Despite the spy scandal, the following year, at the Paris Air Show, European developers were made a proposal to jointly develop the aircraft, which was accepted. Since 1965, consultations have been held with the French developers of the Concorde, more than a dozen meetings and 65 reports from each side have taken place.
Also, samples of AK4-1 and AU2GN alloys were exchanged, of which it was planned to build Tu-144 and Concorde, respectively. Later, at the Russian Institute of Light Alloys, French and Soviet metallurgists discussed the results of studying alloys.
As for the similarity in appearance, the aerodynamic appearance of both SPA was determined by obtaining a long flight range in a cruising supersonic mode, subject to the required characteristics of stability and controllability during takeoff and landing. As a result, both first prototypes were very similar in layout solutions.
The first prototype of the Tu-144
Both aircraft are tailless with a thin ogival wing (that is, with an overflow on the nose of the fuselage). Both aircraft were equipped with a downward-tilting toe to improve visibility during takeoff and landing.
The first prototype of the Concorde
The most important difference consisted in the location of the engines - the Tu-144 had engines in pairs under the fuselage, close to each other, while the Concorde had them in twin nacelles at about half-span of wing.
Tu-144 made its first flight before the Concorde - December 31, 1968 versus March 2, 1969. This fact alone makes it possible to cut off all talk about copying the Tu-144 in the generally accepted sense. Soviet designers adopted only general design solutions. And there is no doubt that even if the Concorde never existed, Tupolev would sooner or later create his own supersonic plane.
The first prototype of the Tu-144
Moreover, the main responsibility for the creation of the SPA lay not with the aircraft designers, but with the engine builders.
The NK-144 engine was developed on the basis of the NK-6 developments. Tests of the NK-6 began back in 1958. It was created for the Tu-22 bomber and the Tu-123 reconnaissance UAV, but it remained experimental, it was not accepted into the series.
NK-144 worked at afterburner during the entire cruising flight. Because of this, it was extremely uneconomical, and the Tu-144 with these engines could not reach the specified long range.
The Bristol Olympus 593B engine, on the other hand, used the afterburner only during takeoff and when accelerating to supersonic cruising speed, and then turned off. This was a fundamental difference, refuting any speculation about copying the engine.
Engine "Olympus" 593Mk602
Although communication between the groups of designers involved in further refinement of both SPS continued until 1979, the development of aircraft on the way to mass production diverged.
The most significant changes were made to the aircraft design. In the serial Tu-144, in comparison with the prototype, the wing shape changed, it became much less "smooth" and the difference from the Concorde wing became even more obvious.
Serial Concorde and Tu-144 in Sinsheim, Germany
Serial Tu-144 received a destabilizer front empennage, which extends from the fuselage during takeoff and landing modes. This improved maneuverability and allowed landing at a lower speed.
This wing in the nose so interested the developers of the Concorde that at the 1973 Le Bourget air show they sent the Mirage to photograph the work of the front horizontal tail in flight. To evade the fighter, the crew of the Tu-144 CCCP-77102 made a sharp maneuver, which led to the destruction of the airliner in flight, a crash and casualties.
Such close attention to the front tail of the Tu-144 is easy to explain, because all Concordes, including the very first, were equipped with only a fixed wing in the nose.
On the other hand, if the Tu-144's nose only tilted down to improve visibility, the Concorde also had the ability to lower the windshield without changing the position of the nose.
Pre-production Concorde s/n 101
The changes also affected the engines. The Concorde received 593Mk621 engines with a thrust increased to 18,100 kgf.
Later, the Tu-144 also received a new, more economical and powerful engine - RD-36-51A with thrust up to 20,000 kgf, due to which the range increased by 1,400 km. Unfortunately, by the time of the closure of the Tu-144 program, this engine had not yet been "brought to mind".
Another striking difference lies in the main leg bogie of the chassis. In the Concorde, the chassis is retracted into the space between the engine nacelles, and the four-wheel bogie has a completely familiar look.
And for the Tu-144, the main landing gear is located directly under the nacelles, and retracted inside between the air channels of the engines, which required a reduction in the size of the wheels. The result is a monstrous eight-wheeled cart.
Tu-144 USSR-77106 in Monino
And on the first prototype, each bogie had twelve wheels!
The first prototype of the Tu-144 USSR-68001
Finally, the most important difference between aircraft is the lifespan. Tu-144 carried passengers on the Moscow—Alma-Ata route for only less than seven months. While the commercial operation of Concorde lasted more than 27 years, and ended in 2003, even in spite of the Paris disaster on July 25, 2000.
In this article, I have only scratched the surface of the significant differences in the history of the development and construction of domestic and English-French supersonic passenger aircraft. But this is already quite enough to shame anyone who contemptuously calls the Tu-144 "Concordsky". Such a nickname has no more reason than to call Concorde "Tupolevsky".
Anyone who uses the name "Concordsky" is only superficially versed in aircraft construction and presents himself as a complete layman, kitchen and couch analyst like this:
I recommend everyone to read the book by G.A. Cheryomukhin “Further. Higher. Faster: memories of work in the aircraft industry, of technology and its creators". In the book of an aircraft designer who worked at the Tupolev Design Bureau in 1942-2009, the history of the creation of many machines, including the Tu-144, is described in detail.