HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
The U.S. Air Force unveiled their sixth-generation aircraft, the B-21 Raider, via worldwide broadcast in Palmdale, California, Dec. 2, 2022.
One of the highest concerns during the event was protecting the intellectual property and significantly enhanced capabilities of the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft. In order to limit the potential for release of sensitive or even classified images or information about the Air Force’s newest asset to the public, only one video camera crew was permitted to broadcast the event: the 2d Audiovisual Squadron based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
The squadron’s broadcast was picked up by more than 130 news outlets and garnered over 80 million views. The world was watching; viewers tuned in from Japan, China and 45 other countries.
“Our team at the 2d AVS is one of two Air Force Public Affairs units that has a mobile truck with live broadcast capability and security authorization for something like this,” said Mike Raynor, 2d AVS production flight commander. “Our capability ensures the world receives immediate information, while simultaneously ensuring operational security.”
With their unique capabilities, the 2d AVS serves the entire Department of Defense by giving the public real-time information in the form of video livestreaming. They provide coverage for Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs all the way down to local base missions. From a strategic communication perspective, this affords U.S. forces a way to control the information environment.
"Our ability to reach people across the U.S. and in every corner of the world makes us invaluable in strategic competition," said Maj. Mark Graff, 2d AVS commander. "The 2d Audiovisual Squadron is like a featherweight boxer; we're agile, crafty and we outpunch our weight."
Senior leaders from the Department of Defense and Northrop Grumman spoke at the B-21 unveiling to emphasize just how important the strategic bomber is.
“It is a testament to America’s enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin. “It’s proof of the Department’s long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America’s ability to deter aggression, today and into the future.”
Their message would have only reached a small group of employees and distinguished visitors had the 2d AVS not broadcast the event. The livestream was the only way to experience the unveiling if you weren’t afforded the opportunity to be there in person.
"I think it's really important for folks to understand that the live broadcast of the B-21 unveiling could not have been possible without the organic assets and expertise of the 2d AVS,” said Maj. Joshua Benedetti, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs media operations officer. "The B-21 Raider was the first new bomber the U.S. Air Force unveiled in over 30 years. We needed live broadcast capabilities to securely capture the moment and share it with the world.”
The 2d AVS continues to build partnerships between the DoD and outside organizations to reach a broad global audience.
“There’s a unique partnership between the Air Force and Northrop Grumman for the B-21 program and that extends to the public affairs and communications teams,” said Lindsey Borg, Northrop Grumman vice president of communications. “When we faced security limitations for broadcast media to attend the B-21 unveiling, the 2d AVS provided the solution: Air Force cameras sending their broadcast signals through a DoD system. As a result, we were able to share the first glimpses of this advanced aircraft with audiences worldwide.”
The 2d AVS has been supporting the Air Force with its unique mission from Hill Air Force Base since 1967. All Airmen assigned to the unit are trained and equipped to seize the initiative to communicate about any mission, challenge or opportunity.