Friday evening will see the official launch of the B-21 Raider by Northrop Grumman, Northrop Grumman’s aerospace and defense firm. The public finally gets to see the B-21 Raider, a long-range strategic bomber, at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility. This is after years of hype and speculation. You can even stream the event live.
This is the Air Force’s first bomber aircraft in over three decades. It has been widely hailed as a breakthrough in aviation technology.
Dough Young (sector vice president, general manager Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems), stated via a statement that “the B-21 is one of the most advanced military airplanes ever made” in a release.
It is notable that the Air Force, Northrop Grumman and the Air Force are doing everything possible.
In addition to the major event scheduled for 8 pm EST on Friday, the unveiling has been teased for weeks – and it has practically rivaled the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. This event doesn’t occur every single day, year, and even decade. The Northrop B-2 Spirit’s public debut was in November 1988, and was much less well-known.
This is also the first significant U.S. military platform to be introduced in the social media era, and both the service and the defense contractor took to Twitter to make sure the world knew that the B-21 – like Christmas – is coming.
The unveiling of the B-21 Raider is today at 8:15 p.m. EDT. Innovative manufacturing techniques & an open systems architecture allow the bomber to integrate new technology as it matures & acclimates to future threats,” the Air Force’s official Twitter account (@usairforce) announced.
Northrop Grumman, @northropgrumman also tweeted: “Today is your day!” The United States Air Force is our partner and we are delighted to unveil the B-21 Raider. You can watch live at 4:35 PM Pacific.
By contrast, Russia and China – which are each working on their own respective strategic bombers – have been far less forthcoming in providing details about their respective future aircraft.
Both nations recognize the importance of creating buzz even though they aren’t yet confirming the existence or future plans for their planes. Moscow, in fact, has mostly kept its latest military hardware away from social media and instead uses parades, air shows, and other marketing channels.
Sizzle Reel Xian H-20
Beijing clearly sees the value of social media in creating buzz about its military hardware and has taken all necessary steps to show the world a glimpse at its future bomber.
Nearly two decades ago, on January 20, 2021, Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Forces (PLAAF), shared video footage showing what it believed was its still unveiled Xian H-20 stealth fighter bomber. This quick sizzle reel was quickly shared on the Internet.
Titled, “Dream of Youth,” the more than four-minute-long recruiting video first appeared on YouTube on January 5, 2021, and it followed a pair of recruits – played by Chinese actors Jackson Yee and Wu Jing – as they join the PLAAF and become pilots. They are then shown the plane they will be flying.
It looked like the B-21 Raider’s flying wing design.
Twitter: Bombers in Tweets
There were times when future bombers could only be seen near test grounds. But now, social media is the best way to find these aircrafts.
Matthew Schmidt, who is director of Blue-Ink Global’s International Affairs Program, explained that there are many methods to confuse an enemy.
“Militaries of democratic countries get funded for research & development (R&D) differently from autocratic states,” Schmidt added. Schmidt said that they should show off their work to Congress as well as the contractors. You can show some PR swagger, but it is also an opportunity to demonstrate strength to your enemy. And, don’t forget: if you make the audience look the way you want, you are giving away something. But, what you really do is concealing the magic.