The first F-35C Lightning II lands at Miramar in January 2020. Marine Corps photo

The F-35 Lightning II fighter jet represents a generational leap in military aviation, delivering unmatched firepower and enemy-evading stealth technology.

This 5th Generation fighter also represents the best in American and allied nation manufacturing. Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions in San Diego is proud to be one of more than 1,900 F-35 suppliers supporting the production of this game-changing aircraft.

Success on the battlefield requires the ability to rapidly adjust to a changing environment. The onboard technology suite of the F-35 provides real-time information to pilots, helping them make split-second adjustments to attack the enemy and protect our troops.

Equally important, the F-35 is capable of sharing its intelligence with others in its fighter group and with troops on the ground and field commanders directing the engagement from any land or sea location. It is capable of being the point guard in the fight, sharing information with and helping direct the movements of friendly aircraft.

In short, the F-35 pilot can see the battlefield and engage the fight in ways that pilots of legacy aircraft, like the F-18 Hornet, can only dream of.

Coupling its information-gathering technology with advanced stealth technology, the F-35 adapts its footprint at a moment’s notice to make it virtually invisible to enemy radar on the ground or opposing aircraft. This enhances the F-35s survivability and provides the pilot with additional data that can be used to execute defensive countermeasures or deliver a lethal air-to-air strike.

What’s more, the design of the F-35 makes it possible to carry weapons and fuel internally, allowing it to attack ground targets at longer ranges while avoiding detection, opening the battlefield for allied operations.

Such advanced technology is only possible because of the skills of the global production team behind it. The F-35 is an incredibly complex piece of equipment, with more than 300,000 individual parts. It requires integral components, like the radar made by Cobham, that are designed with unmatched precision and quality.

The ability of this team to deliver sophisticated components efficiently is another reason for the F-35’s advantage. And because it is replacing legacy jets, some with as much as 25 years of service, we need to build and deploy more F-35s.

I hope Congress will support increased annual production. The manufacturing team behind the F-35 has demonstrated that it is up to the task by driving down the price-per-jet cost to where it costs less than the legacy fighters it is replacing.

The F-35 and the team behind it are essential to securing the peace and promoting advances in manufacturing and technology. By supporting the growth of the F-35, Congress can play its role in achieving both of those objectives.

Terry McKnight is vice president of customer relations for Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions in San Diego.

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