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不!川普先生 可匹敵的F-18無法替代F-35

即便川普考慮以F/A-18取代F-35解決成本問題,但專家對此表示反對。(法新社資料照片)
即便川普考慮以F/A-18取代F-35解決成本問題,但專家對此表示反對。(法新社資料照片)

◎王柏文

 President-Elect Trump's recent announcement that he is considering acquiring the F/A-18 Super Hornet in place of the F-35 Lightning II does not add up for a leader who seeks "to make America great again." While the President-Elect's concerns regarding the cost of weapons procurement is wholly valid, such decisions must be weighed in the context of current security demands.

 總統當選人川普近來宣布正考慮以F/A-18超級大黃蜂戰機取代F-35一事,對於一個尋求讓「美國再度偉大」的領導者而言並不合理。雖然基於武獲成本的考量並沒有錯,然而這類的決策也應同時權衡眼下的安全需求。

 Air supremacy, the mission fulfilled by the fighter planes, plays a pivotal role in warfare. Without control of the sky, no military operation can succeed. Planes like the F-35 represent the lynchpin on which ground power, sea power, and airpower can effectively engage. Want proof of this? Simply look at June 6, 1944, D-Day. By controlling the sky, the Allies were able launch a decisive invasion on the beaches of France that effectively sealed Nazi Germany's fate. This effort would never have worked had the landing forces been subject to robust enemy air strikes or had Rommel's panzer reinforcements been free to race to the beaches on road and rail networks undamaged by Allied air attack.

 主要由戰機取得的制空權,在戰事中至為關鍵,若無制空權,則任務成功機率渺茫。F-35一類的先進戰機,就成了確保陸上、海上,以及空中武力能夠發揮功效的樞紐。若要佐證,只要以1944年6月6日諾曼地登陸為例,空中優勢確保了盟軍的登陸作戰,也將納粹的統治終結。當日盟軍若在暴露敵軍的空襲下、甚或隆美爾的戰車部隊因鐵公路未受空襲損壞而可順利馳援前線,則登陸作戰不會成功。

 However, America's ability to control the sky currently stands at risk. The majority of the fighter aircraft serving with the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps are 1960s and 1970s-era designs. Enemy nations have invested considerable sums in their defensive capabilities - better radars, better missiles, better computers, command, & control - which means that planes like the F/A-18 are likely to get shot down in a conflict.

 然而,美軍的空中優勢目前正面臨危機,大多數空軍、海軍以及陸戰隊現役的戰機,都屬於1960-1970年代的設計,而敵對勢力近年來投注大筆預算在強化空防,更強大的雷達、飛彈以及指管系統,都意味著F/A-18可能在衝突中被擊落。

 That is why Presidents on both sides of the aisle, Congress, and service leaders have pursued the F-35 for nearly two decades. Over those years, the program has made some costly stumbles - but no acquisition program is perfect, and the larger they are, the more problems they have. Nevertheless, today the F-35 is on track to provide a huge capability for a comparatively reasonable price: $85M by 2019.

 這正是近20年以來,無論是共和或民主黨人士出任的總統、國會以及美軍高層都致力於追求F-35的原因。雖然這項計畫一路上產生不少代價高昂的缺失,但沒有一項武獲計畫是完美的,且計畫愈大,問題也會愈多。然而現今的F-35已能在相對合理的售價下,提供極佳的戰力:即在2019年預估每架價格為8500萬美元(約新臺幣27.59億元)。

 It is also crucial to recognize that the F-35 doesn't just do the same things better : It does things the legacy fighters just can't do at all. First and foremost, planes like the F/A-18 will never be very stealthy because their designs were never built to evade radar, as evident in their shapes, construction materials, or avionics. Modernization cannot fix this problem: Stealth has to be built into a design from day one.

 了解F-35不僅能把任務發揮得更好,更能達成其他戰機做不到的任務是非常重要的。首先也是最重要的一點是,類似F/A-18的戰機無法完全匿蹤,因為其本身就並沒有閃避雷達的設計,這點從外觀、材質或其電戰裝備就可窺知。而執行升級案也無法解決這個問題,匿蹤必須根基於設計圖紙。

 Failing to build a modern, capable military invites our enemies to pursue aggressive action. It is no mistake that China is pushing the boundaries in the Pacific and Russia is destabilizing neighboring regions: They sense the US is weak and are taking advantage of the situation.

 無法打造現代化、具有相當能力的軍事力量,恐讓敵對勢力轉趨積極。中共正擴張太平洋上的疆界、俄羅斯也正擾動其鄰近區域的穩定,都是不爭的事實。這些國家察覺到美國的孱弱,且正從中獲益。

 Is it a good idea to try and get best value from a contract negotiation? Of course. However, it's also crucial to buy capabilities that are capable of fighting effectively and winning. The F-35 is the only fighter currently in production in the United States that can do the job.

 在合約議價的時候嘗試取得最大利益是不是一件好事?當然是,然而購入可有效作戰並取勝的能力也相當關鍵,而眼下F-35是美國生產唯一可符合需求的戰機。

(節譯自Breaking Defense網站)

友善列印

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