:::

美海軍4月將接收超級航艦福特號

受到艦載電子系統無法正程運作的影響,使超級航艦「福特號」建造時程一再延宕。(取自美國海軍官網)
受到艦載電子系統無法正程運作的影響,使超級航艦「福特號」建造時程一再延宕。(取自美國海軍官網)

◎王柏文

 The long-delayed super-carrier USS Ford is "99 percent" complete and will be delivered to the Navy in April, the Navy announced lately. A date for commissioning the $13 billion ship into service has still not been yet.

 美國海軍最近宣布,建造期程延宕已久的超級航艦「福特號」(USS Gerald R. Ford)目前進度已來到「99%」,並且將在4月交艦。但是這艘造價130億美元(約新臺幣4132.3億元)艦艇的服役時間仍然未定。

 The Ford is the first all-new carrier design in 40 years- since the USS Nimitz was commissioned in 1975 - and many of its new technologies turned out to be not quite ready for action, leading to schedule slips and cost overruns. But alongside the electromagnetic launch catapults and high-tech arrestor gear, the ship also suffered problems with its relatively mundane turbine generators. Now, however, the Navy says testing is 93 percent complete, work on the ship overall is 99 percent done, and the service has enough confidence to set a schedule again: shipbuilders' trials in March, then Navy acceptance trials in April with delivery later that month - assuming the trials go okay.

 「福特號」是美軍自從「尼米茲號」(USS Nimitz)在1975年投入服役後,40年來首艘全新設計的航艦,但艦上許多新科技尚未達到可執行任務的標準,導致期程延宕以及預算爆表。除了電磁彈射器和高科技減速齒輪的問題之外,這艘巨艦還面臨渦輪發電系統的缺陷。但無論如何,海軍表示測試已完成93%、造艦進度達到99%,並再次對於訂出明確的時程有足夠信心:造船廠於3月進行航試後,若一切順利,海軍則將在4月展開航試並且接艦。

 Navy Secretary Ray Mabus effectively admitted the Ford was the Navy's most troubled program, edging out the controversial Littoral Combat Ship. Congressional critics have excoriated the program, most of all Senate Armed Services chairman John McCain, who as a former Navy fighter pilot knows carriers first-hand. Interestingly, President Donald Trump has refrained from criticizing the Ford even as he publicly blasts the F-35 fighter that will fly from it.

 海軍部長馬布斯不諱言,「福特號」目前已取代最具爭議的近岸作戰艦,成為海軍最頭痛的問題。而來自國會的批評始終打擊著這項造艦計畫,其中大部分來自參院軍事委員會主席、曾擔任海軍飛行員,對航艦知之甚深的馬侃。有趣的是,川普總統雖曾大肆抨擊將成為艦載機的F-35,卻對「福特號」避而不談。

 It'll be interesting to see if the announcement calms the troubled waters for the Ford or simply brings it back to critics' attention for another round of sniping.

 在海軍訂出明確交艦時程後,「福特號」引起的論戰究竟會因此風平浪靜,或招致輿論新一波的關注,後續發展耐人尋味。

The brand-new chairman of the House seapower subcommittee, Rep. Rob Wittman, was quick to praise the carrier - which is built at Newport News in his home state of Virginia, albeit not in his district: "USS FORD (CVN 78) is a first-in-class aircraft carrier with capabilities never before seen in the United States Navy and will serve as a vital component of our force projection for decades to come. Like most first-in-class ships, USS FORD experienced some unexpected delays, but I am encouraged that she plans to join the fleet in April 2017 following sea trials."

 甫接任眾議院海權次級委員會主席的議員魏特曼,對於這艘在其家鄉維吉尼亞州紐波特紐斯港,但並非在他選區內建造的航艦大表支持:「『福特號』(CVN 78)是該級艦的首艦,其具備美國海軍前所未有的戰力,並在未來數十年之間成為展現我軍戰力的重要指標。如同許多新艦級的首艦,『福特號』遭遇某些無法預料的延宕,但我仍希望她能在航試後,順利於4月加入海軍的行列。」

A former Pentagon analyst had a less rosy but ultimately positive assessment: "Taking delivery of the Ford at long last is a positive step towards getting the fleet back into fighting form. I hope that the Navy and the manufacturer will quickly bring all of the systems to their full capabilities, especially the electrical systems that include the ship's catapults and arresting gear. Ultimately, as we move beyond this first-in-class ship, I hope to see production intervals and associated costs come down."

 而一名前五角大廈官員對此則有較為實際正面的分析,指出「『福特號』終於能夠交艦,對於海軍艦隊重振具有積極意涵」,並「希望海軍以及造艦商能早日讓艦上系統發揮其具備的能力,尤其是包括彈射與減速齒輪在內的電子設備」,「最終,在首艦之後,期待未來造艦的期程與成本能大幅降低」。

(節譯自Breaking Defense網站)

友善列印

相關新聞

熱門新聞