MiG-29 'Fulcrum', based off the F-14 'Tomcat', where did the idea come from?


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
16 December 2010
Reaction score
I'm currently reading a late 1980s technothriller ('Target Stealth' (1989) by Jack Mereck.), which is of course from that interesting period when the Soviet Union started to fold up. I'm not going to get into the details of the plot (The front cover posted in the 'B-2' thread should tell you what's going on in it.)

In the novel it is stated that the MiG-29 'Fulcrum' is in fact either directly copied from, or simply closely based on the F-14 'Tomcat'. Here is the key descriptive scene.

On the first laminated panel of the flip chart was a colour photograph of an F-14 Tomcat supersonic fighter, still a formidable aircraft. Next to it was a grainy photograph of a similar appearing aircraft, but the red star on the tail indicated it was a MiG.

"The Soviets got the Tomcat away from us because we handed it over to them piece by piece."


"Of course the MiG Fulcrum will use an air to air missile to fire at the cruise missile (Not included in this excerpt is a reference to the Soviets copying the AGM-86.) that was also provided helpfully by Mr Bell to his friends."

Now the novel is set 'some time' after the Reagan presidency, but as the title says, was there any time during the 1980s that it was thought the MiG-29 was a copy of the F-14 (either closely or loosely.)?
The rear fuselage is a kind of disc, with two engine nacelles underneath. Two vertical stabilisers. Tomcat had E/O sensor, Fulcrum an IRST.
That's about the entire similarity (except the things that fighters of the time had in common anyway).

MiG-29s were usually illustrated in a conventional fuselage/engine arrangement well into the 80's. Their visit to Finland finally revealed their exterior details and IRST IIRC.
Grumman did a study on a projected next generation Soviet fighter they dubbed "Fearless", which was expected to be VG. At least one western author thought the early Su-27 prototype had swing wings.
If you look at the plan view (which is basically all that was available at one point via grainy satellite photos), there are some similarities in design philosophy.


I also remember many early depictions had squared off inlets. May have been the result of painting the Lerx to fool overhead/satellite imagery.

I don't think anyone "official" ever thought it was a copy, but if an enthusiast-author was looking at the right/wrong artist depictions available in the early 80's, he might get that impression.
It is a strange thing for the author to say, it either implies the book was written much earlier than its publication date which would explain some of the quirks that don't quite match the B-2 to the ATB presented here, or perhaps the author confused his MiGs?

The 'copied' AAM in the book could well be the R-33 (AA-9 'Amos') that resembled the AIM-54, of course it entered service much earlier than 1989 and so did the MiG-31. Also, given MiG had a fair bit of VG wing experience with the 23/27 family its rather odd the author thinks MiG would have to copy the F-14! Even so, the description would more closely fit the role of the MiG-31 than the MiG-29, but both types would have been quite familiar by the late 1980s.

Similar threads

Top Bottom