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.

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.
Why Don't Airplanes Go Faster?
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  4
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  152
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.
Leidos Wins $662 Million Army Reconnaissance Contract 
Leidos has been named the winner of the Airborne Reconnaissance Low – Enhanced (ARL-E) competition to replace the Army’s Bombardier EO-5C ARL-Multifunction surveillance aircraft.
Upgraded Israeli C-130 Set For Extended Career 
The first Israeli air force C-130H to be fitted with modernized Elbit Systems avionics has flown for “dozens” of hours in its flight test program.
Sources, Statements Point To LRS-B Details  7
We could tell you all about the LRS-B­—and a related secret prototype—but then we’d have to use a cliched quote from a mediocre 1980s movie.
Opinion: Did Unique Requirements Swing Pentagon’s Bomber Decision?  40
Northrop Grumman undercut its rivals’ price to win the bomber contract, and the Pentagon’s requirements could have given it the chance to do so.
Opinion: A New Bomber For $550 Million? Not Likely
November 13, 2015

The biggest mistake in this piece:

The U.S. didn't stop production at 21 B-2s because the price (program acquisition unit cost, including R&D) rose to $2.2 billion...

How's USAF Going To Manage That Bomber Deal, Anyway? We Still Don't Know
November 6, 2015

And what DarkStar was a demonstrator for...

Canadian Election Results Opens Fighter Competition
October 21, 2015

Lt Gen Bogdan has been complaining about the stress on his supply chain. The last thing he wants to do is cut people off to make a political point.

Why Boeing Cannot Decide Now On 757 Successor
September 25, 2015

The laws of geometry haven't changed at all, have they? This is the big 7N7+7X7 versus A310 argument of the 1970s, all over again. (And I don't think you can write off the...

Opinion: How To Avoid Directed-Energy Pitfalls
August 18, 2015

There is some detail on the Globalsecurity site. It sounds odd, but comms spacecraft have sensitive receivers and powerful amps - and aren't designed to work with ground...


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