Bill Sweetman

Bill Sweetman
Senior International Defense Editor,
Aviation Week & Space Technology

Bill's 40-year career as an aerospace and defense journalist has covered almost every aspect of the topic, from satellites to submarines, from infantry gear to classified ultra-stealthy bombers and from nano-UAVs to aircraft carriers. He was the first reporter to suggest that a funny Euro-Project called Airbus might be going somewhere, that the Eurofighter had a nasty streak in the low-speed, high-alpha envelope and that Boeing’s 7J7 and Sonic Cruiser were vaporware. Bill played a key role in breaking stories about the classified RQ-170 and RQ-180 UAVs, and the still-secret stealth helicopter used in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011.


He is a regular speaker and international conferences, is frequently interviewed or cited as an authority on technical issues - stealth technology in particular - by U.S. and global media and is the leading independent expert on the Joint Strike Fighter program. Bill’s groundbreaking work on stealth received simultaneous and detailed attention from the CIA and the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence agency. 


The 2013 Jesse H. Neal award for Best Subject-Related Package was awarded to Bill and other members of Aviation Week's defense team for their package "Balance of Fear: Iran, Israel and the Calculus of War." The same package won the award for Best In-Depth Feature at the 2013 Aerospace Media Awards.


Bill has also received Aerospace Journalist of the Year awards from the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

World Conflict 2016 25
A selection of the most powerful images of conflicts in 2015 that are likely to continue in 2016.
Opinion: Why Does U.S. Air Force Want New F-15s Or F-16s?  53
Fighter operators and Pentagon acquisition troops are talking past each other. That can’t end well.
Saab Says It Is Ready To Produce GaN Radar Sensor  4
Saab says it began testing a gallium-nitride fighter radar more than a year ago and has verified that the sensor is ready for production, although the complete system has not flown.
Opinion: U.K. Defense Planners Deliver More ‘Hurry Up and Wait’ Decisions  11
Britain’s defense review put a few surprises under the tree for industries and operators.
Higher And Faster: The Quest For Speed 13
Speed has driven the history of aerospace. It’s never been easy, and it hasn’t always been safe.
Podcast: Why Don't Airplanes Go Faster? 4
Do we still have a need for speed? Join Aviation Week as we discuss the history and technology of speed and whether, moving into the future, supersonic aircraft are economically feasible.
Opinion: LRS-B Protest Rhetoric Masks Fragile Case  31
A formal protest of the Pentagon’s Long-Range Strike Bomber award to Northrop Grumman has to be based on failure to follow rules, but the challengers’ public case goes far beyond that.
Increasing Speeds Defined Aviation History  6
Airplane speeds rocketed ahead in the first 60 years of flight, but today most of the world’s fastest aircraft are in museums. How did that happen?
The Technology Of High-Speed Flight 
Ten milestones on the road to hypersonics, from the first aero-engines to the wedge-shaped lifting body.
U.S. Considers Up To 72 New F-15s Or F-16s  159
The U.S. Air Force may solicit bids for 72 new Boeing F-15s, Lockheed Martin F-16s or even Boeing F/A-18E/Fs as budget issues put planned production rates for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter out of reach.
More RAF Typhoons Likely In Defense Review 
The U.K.’s new Strategic Defense and Security Review is likely to authorize two or three more squadrons of Eurofighter Typhoon fighters for the Royal Air Force.
Milestones Close For Denmark And Belgium Fighter Contests  21
Denmark’s government is expected to recommend the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in December as the replacement for the F-16.
Germany Considers Brimstone For Typhoon 
Germany is looking at acquiring the MBDA Brimstone high-precision close-air-support weapon for its Eurofighter Typhoon force.
Air Force Seeks To Ease Strain On UAV Pilot Force 
The U.S. Air Force is set to announce moves to reduce strain on its unmanned air vehicle crews, according to Air Combat Command chief Gen. Herbert Carlisle.
IAI Unveils Next-Gen Missile Warning Radar 
Israel’s new Terra missile warning and space control radar system will have detection ranges of “thousands of kilometers” against missile-sized targets, Israel Aerospace Industries Elta division says.
Opinion: F-35 Software Fixes Likely To Take Time
January 28, 2016

Couple of points: Gilmore talks "deficiency" rather than "bugs" per se. That is, things that matter. The JPO in its response mentioned that "safety critical deficiencies"...

U.S. Marines Planning U.K. F-35 Debut
January 28, 2016

Try again, Remf. I flew as a passenger on an FBW commercial airplane 40 years ago and on one without mechanical backup just over a decade later.

Testing Chief Warns Of JSF Software Delays
January 23, 2016

In the light of history (real history) there was never any serious challenge to the F-14 mission nor do I recall much evaluation of alternatives, other than a back-of-the-...

The Struggle For Safer Flight
January 15, 2016

Since it was only the curvature of the Earth that allowed the D.H. Ground-Gripper to be anything other than a very fast train, I didn't include it. Seriously, good catch!...

Opinion: Why Does U.S. Air Force Want New F-15s Or F-16s?
December 17, 2015

By Sept 2009 - only a few months after the F-22 decision - the F-35 published schedule was clearly unrealistic: it called for the flight-test program to go from the slowest on...

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