ROCKFORD, Ill.--The only thing that's easy when it comes to taking controls of a fifth generation, F-35 fighter jet is getting in the cockpit.
"These people who are defending our country in these aircraft have a pretty darn tough job," said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. "I mean you are doing everything from trying to stay even to dropping bombs to shooting missiles and all this going on simultaneously."
"It's obviously a pretty tough job they have."
Monday's event at UTC showcase it's partnership with Lockheed Martin and the F-35's role in protecting national security as well as its economic impact across the US and within Illinois.
It's the most sophisticated aircraft in the air and it's getting cheaper to make.
"From the first year of production to the fifth year of production, we've dropped the price of the airplane by over 50 percent," said Steve O'Brien, a former F-18 fighter pilot now with Lockheed Martin. "From today, our target is to drop it another 50 percent."
Congressman Adam Kinzinger took his turn in the flight simulator, and he knows with his first hand military experience the value of having the best means decreased conflict.
"Building those fighters, frankly, makes war all that less likely."
The Department of Defense report last month notes that the project, although ambitious, is behind schedule and will come at a price of $12.6 billion annually through the year 2037. The $400 billion dollar has support, however, with nearly a dozen countries signing on to purchase the technology.
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