"Alike as two peas!"
Once again we have caught the noted Soviet defector and writer on all things Soviet military Victor Suvorov if not in a big fib - - at least not full in the understanding of really occurred?
The Soviet aircraft design and manufacturing industry - - at the behest of Stalin personally, reverse engineering a captured American B-29 bomber of World War Two [WW2] vintage, Soviet technology of the time NOT able to match in design criteria or manufacturing capacity the famous Superfortress. A weakness in Soviet military might as perceived by Stalin to be remedied by the slavish imitation of the American bomber aircraft.
Slavish imitation as recounted in the Suvorov book: "The Liberators", the chapter: "The Brick Bomber".
"The B-29 was dismantled into thousands of the smallest possible parts, which were distribute among the various ministries, departments, design bureaux and scientific research institutes with the explicit command to copy each detail, aggregate or device and then to embark upon its mass-production within ten months."
[that copy of the B-29 referred to in Soviet nomenclature as the Tu-4. NATO codename "Bull"]
Furthermore, the decision was made to use the ENGLISH system of measurements, sizing, weights, etc., and not the METRIC system. The aircraft having originally designed using the ENGLISH system and the command had been of course to make them "alike, as two peas"!
"Difficulties arose from the very beginning of the copying process. To begin with, the use of the metric system of measuring was quite out of the question . . . Soviet trade representatives in Canada, England and the USA started to buy up measuring equipment in small quantities . . . And the retraining of thousands of engineers, technicians and workers, to switch over to calculating in inches, feet and pounds, began urgently."
[Suvorov further states that "This system of measurement [English] is still used in the Soviet Army.]
This is all so much bull? "Bull" in the sense of the English word meaning: "bull - - noun Slang . 1. exaggerations; lies; nonsense."
From the Russian military aviation web site http://www.aviation.ru/
"Copy of Boeing B-29 Superfortress . . . The Tu-4 [Bull] was not, as is often said, an exact copy of the B-29; changes were made to armament and construction, partly because of inability of the industry to produce some advanced parts and partly because the construction had to be adapted to metric measures. But the study of its technology was a big step forward."
Comment by A.S.: "'Step Forward' in such a case is nothing but a step ... backwards. Copying of 4-5 years old technology (yes, very advanced at its time) instead of developing of a domestic one (specially in this case) was'":
* "removing intellectual and industrial resources from new projects;"
* "spending them on design soon to became obsolete;"
* "planting seeds of a very bad habit - copying - into domestic science and engineering;"
So there you have it! According to the Russian aviation web site, the comments of A.S. most pertinent - - NO slavish copying and no use of the English system of measurements and weights.
Perhaps Suvorov is not entirely incorrect? Pehaps the first several PROTOTYPES of the "Bull' were like two peas, exact copies of the B-29. Subsequent assembly line production models did have modifications, up-grades, etc., and were NOT like two peas? Who can tell with certainty?