Destroyer

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USS Winston S. Churchill, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy USS Winston S. Churchill.jpg
USS Winston S. Churchill, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy

In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, maneuverable, long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against powerful short range attackers. They were originally developed in the late 19th century by Fernando Villaamil for the Spanish Navy [1] [2] as a defense against torpedo boats, and by the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, these "torpedo boat destroyers" (TBDs) were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats". [3] Although the term "destroyer" had been used interchangeably with "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War. [4]

Contents

Before World War II, destroyers were light vessels with little endurance for unattended ocean operations; typically a number of destroyers and a single destroyer tender operated together. After the war, the advent of the guided missile allowed destroyers to take on the surface combatant roles previously filled by battleships and cruisers. This resulted in larger and more powerful guided missile destroyers more capable of independent operation.

At the start of the 21st century, destroyers are the global standard for surface combatant ships, with only two nations (United States and Russia) officially operating the heavier class cruisers, with no battleships or true battlecruisers remaining. [note 1] Modern guided missile destroyers are equivalent in tonnage but vastly superior in firepower to cruisers of the World War II era, and are capable of carrying nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. At 510 feet (160 m) long, a displacement of 9,200 tons, and with armament of more than 90 missiles, [5] guided missile destroyers such as the Arleigh Burke-class are actually larger and more heavily armed than most previous ships classified as guided missile cruisers. The Chinese Type 055 destroyer has been described as a cruiser in some US Navy reports due to its size and armament. [6]

Some NATO navies, such as the Canadian, French, Spanish, Dutch and German, use the term "frigate" for their destroyers, which leads to some confusion.

After the Second World War, destroyers grew in size. The American Allen M. Sumner-classdestroyers had a displacement of 2,200 tons, while the Arleigh Burke class has a displacement of up to 9,600 tons, thus growing in size almost 340%.

Origins

Fernando Villaamil, credited as the inventor of the destroyer concept, died in action during the Battle of Santiago de Cuba in 1898 Fernando Villaamil (ca 1897).jpg
Fernando Villaamil, credited as the inventor of the destroyer concept, died in action during the Battle of Santiago de Cuba in 1898

The emergence and development of the destroyer was related to the invention of the self-propelled torpedo in the 1860s. A navy now had the potential to destroy a superior enemy battle fleet using steam launches to fire torpedoes. Cheap, fast boats armed with torpedoes called torpedo boats were built and became a threat to large capital ships near enemy coasts. The first seagoing vessel designed to launch the self-propelled Whitehead torpedo was the 33-ton HMS Lightning in 1876. [7] She was armed with two drop collars to launch these weapons, these were replaced in 1879 by a single torpedo tube in the bow. By the 1880s, the type had evolved into small ships of 50–100 tons, fast enough to evade enemy picket boats.

At first, the threat of a torpedo boat attack to a battle fleet was considered to exist only when at anchor; but as faster and longer-range torpedo boats and torpedoes were developed, the threat extended to cruising at sea. In response to this new threat, more heavily gunned picket boats called "catchers" were built which were used to escort the battle fleet at sea. They needed significant seaworthiness and endurance to operate with the battle fleet, and as they necessarily became larger, they became officially designated "torpedo boat destroyers", and by the First World War were largely known as "destroyers" in English. The anti-torpedo boat origin of this type of ship is retained in its name in other languages, including French (contre-torpilleur), Italian (cacciatorpediniere), Portuguese (contratorpedeiro), Czech (torpédoborec), Greek (antitorpiliko, αντιτορπιλικό), Dutch (torpedobootjager) and, up until the Second World War, Polish (kontrtorpedowiec, now obsolete). [8]

Once destroyers became more than just catchers guarding an anchorage, it was realized that they were also ideal to take over the offensive role of torpedo boats themselves, so they were also fitted with torpedo tubes in addition to their anti torpedo-boat guns. At that time, and even into World War I, the only function of destroyers was to protect their own battle fleet from enemy torpedo attacks and to make such attacks on the battleships of the enemy. The task of escorting merchant convoys was still in the future.

Early designs

The Imperial Japanese Navy's Kotaka (1887) Kotaka.jpg
The Imperial Japanese Navy's Kotaka (1887)

An important development came with the construction of HMS Swift in 1884, later redesignated TB 81. [9] This was a large (137 ton) torpedo boat with four 47 mm quick-firing guns and three torpedo tubes. At 23.75 knots (43.99 km/h; 27.33 mph), while still not fast enough to engage enemy torpedo boats reliably, the ship at least had the armament to deal with them.

Another forerunner of the torpedo boat destroyer was the Japanese torpedo boat [10] Kotaka (Falcon), built in 1885. [11] Designed to Japanese specifications and ordered from the Isle of Dogs, London Yarrow shipyard in 1885, she was transported in parts to Japan, where she was assembled and launched in 1887. The 165-foot (50 m) long vessel was armed with four 1-pounder (37 mm) quick-firing guns and six torpedo tubes, reached 19 knots (35 km/h), and at 203 tons, was the largest torpedo boat built to date. In her trials in 1889, Kotaka demonstrated that she could exceed the role of coastal defense, and was capable of accompanying larger warships on the high seas. The Yarrow shipyards, builder of the parts for Kotaka, "considered Japan to have effectively invented the destroyer". [12]

The German aviso Greif, launched in 1886, was designed as a "torpedojäger" (torpedo hunter), intended to screen the fleet against attacks by torpedo boats. The ship was significantly larger than torpedo boats of the period, displacing some 2,266 t (2,230 long tons), with an armament of 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns and 3.7 cm (1.5 in) Hotchkiss revolver cannon. [13]

Torpedo gunboat

HMS Spider, an early model of torpedo gunboat HMS Spider.png
HMS Spider, an early model of torpedo gunboat

The first vessel designed for the explicit purpose of hunting and destroying torpedo boats was the torpedo gunboat. Essentially very small cruisers, torpedo gunboats were equipped with torpedo tubes and an adequate gun armament, intended for hunting down smaller enemy boats. By the end of the 1890s torpedo gunboats were made obsolete by their more successful contemporaries, the torpedo boat destroyers, which were much faster.

The first example of this was HMS Rattlesnake, designed by Nathaniel Barnaby in 1885, and commissioned in response to the Russian War scare. [14] The gunboat was armed with torpedoes and designed for hunting and destroying smaller torpedo boats. Exactly 200 feet (61 m) long and 23 feet (7.0 m) in beam, she displaced 550 tons. Built of steel, Rattlesnake was un-armoured with the exception of a 34-inch protective deck. She was armed with a single 4-inch/25-pounder breech-loading gun, six 3-pounder QF guns and four 14-inch (360 mm) torpedo tubes, arranged with two fixed tubes at the bow and a set of torpedo dropping carriages on either side. Four torpedo reloads were carried. [14]

A number of torpedo gunboat classes followed, including the Grasshopper class, the Sharpshooterclass, the Alarmclass and the Dryadclass – all built for the Royal Navy during the 1880s and the 1890s.

Fernando Villaamil, second officer of the Ministry of the Navy of Spain, designed his own torpedo gunboat to combat the threat from the torpedo boat. [15] He asked several British shipyards to submit proposals capable of fulfilling these specifications. In 1885 the Spanish Navy chose the design submitted by the shipyard of James and George Thomson of Clydebank. Destructor (Destroyer in Spanish) was laid down at the end of the year, launched in 1886, and commissioned in 1887. Some authors considered her as the first destroyer ever built. [16] [17]

Spanish warship Destructor in 1890, the first destroyer ever built Contratorpedero Destructor (en 1890).svg
Spanish warship Destructor in 1890, the first destroyer ever built

She displaced 348 tons, and was the first warship [18] equipped with twin triple-expansion engines generating 3,784 ihp (2,822 kW), for a maximum speed of 22.6 knots (41.9 km/h), [19] which made her one of the faster ships in the world in 1888. [20] She was armed with one 90 mm (3.5 in) Spanish-designed Hontoria breech-loading gun, [1] four 57 mm (2.2 in) (6-pounder) Nordenfelt guns, two 37 mm (1.5 in) (3-pdr) Hotchkiss cannons and two 15-inch (38 cm) Schwartzkopff torpedo tubes. [19] The ship carried three torpedoes per tube. [1] She was manned by a crew of 60. [19]

In terms of gunnery, speed and dimensions, the specialised design to chase torpedo boats and her high seas capabilities, Destructor was an important precursor to the torpedo boat destroyer. [21]

Development of the modern destroyer

HMS Havock, the first modern destroyer, commissioned in 1894 HMS Havock (1893).jpg
HMS Havock, the first modern destroyer, commissioned in 1894

The first classes of ships to bear the formal designation "torpedo boat destroyer" (TBD) were the Daring-class of two ships and Havock-class of two ships of the Royal Navy.

Early torpedo gunboat designs lacked the range and speed to keep up with the fleet they were supposed to protect. In 1892, the Third Sea Lord, Rear Admiral John "Jacky" Fisher ordered the development of a new type of ships equipped with the then novel water-tube boilers and quick-firing small calibre guns. Six ships to the specifications circulated by the Admiralty were ordered initially, comprising three different designs each produced by a different shipbuilder: HMS Daring and HMS Decoy from John I. Thornycroft & Company, HMS Havock and HMS Hornet from Yarrows, and HMS Ferret and HMS Lynx from Laird, Son & Company. [22]

These torpedo boat destroyers all featured a turtleback (i.e. rounded) forecastle that was characteristic of early British TBDs. HMS Daring and HMS Decoy were both built by Thornycroft, displaced 260 tons (287.8 tons full load) and were 185 feet in length. They were armed with one 12-pounder gun and three 6-pounder guns, with one fixed 18-in torpedo tube in the bow plus two more torpedo tubes on a revolving mount abaft the two funnels. Later the bow torpedo tube was removed and two more 6-pounder guns added instead. They produced 4,200 hp from a pair of Thornycroft water-tube boilers, giving them a top speed of 27 knots, giving the range and speed to travel effectively with a battle fleet. In common with subsequent early Thornycroft boats, they had sloping sterns and double rudders. [23]

The French navy, an extensive user of torpedo boats, built its first torpedo boat destroyer in 1899, with the Durandal-class 'torpilleur d'escadre'. The United States commissioned its first torpedo boat destroyer, USS Bainbridge, Destroyer No. 1, in 1902 and by 1906 there were 16 destroyers in service with the US Navy. [24]

Subsequent improvements

Builders' plans for the British Charger class, built 1894-95. Yarrow plan.png
Builders' plans for the British Chargerclass, built 1894–95.

Torpedo boat destroyer designs continued to evolve around the turn of the 20th century in several key ways. The first was the introduction of the steam turbine. The spectacular unauthorized demonstration of the turbine powered Turbinia at the 1897 Spithead Navy Review, which, significantly, was of torpedo boat size, prompted the Royal Navy to order a prototype turbine powered destroyer, HMS Viper of 1899. This was the first turbine warship of any kind and achieved a remarkable 34 knots (63 km/h) on sea trials. By 1910 the turbine had been widely adopted by all navies for their faster ships. [7]

The second development was the replacement of the torpedo-boat-style turtleback foredeck by a raised forecastle for the new River-class destroyers built in 1903, which provided better sea-keeping as well as more space below deck.

The first warship to use only fuel oil propulsion was the Royal Navy's torpedo boat destroyer HMS Spiteful, after experiments in 1904, although the obsolescence of coal as a fuel in British warships was delayed by its availability. [25] [26] Other navies also adopted oil, for instance the USN with the Pauldingclass of 1909. In spite of all this variety, destroyers adopted a largely similar pattern. The hull was long and narrow, with a relatively shallow draft. The bow was either raised in a forecastle or covered under a turtleback; underneath this were the crew spaces, extending 14 to 13 the way along the hull. Aft of the crew spaces was as much engine space as the technology of the time would allow: several boilers and engines or turbines. Above deck, one or more quick-firing guns were mounted in the bows, in front of the bridge; several more were mounted amidships and astern. Two tube mountings (later on, multiple mountings) were generally found amidships.

Between 1892 and 1914 destroyers became markedly larger: initially 275 tons with a length of 165 feet (50 m) for the Royal Navy's first Havockclass of torpedo boat destroyers, [27] up to the First World War with 300-foot (91 m) long destroyers displacing 1000 tons was not unusual. However, construction remained focused on putting the biggest possible engines into a small hull, resulting in a somewhat flimsy construction. Often hulls were built of high-tensile steel [7] only 1/8 in thick.

By 1910 the steam-driven displacement (that is, not hydroplaning) torpedo boat had become redundant as a separate type. Germany nevertheless continued to build such boats until the end of World War I, although these were effectively small coastal destroyers. In fact Germany never distinguished between the two types, giving them pennant numbers in the same series and never giving names to destroyers. Ultimately the term torpedo boat came to be attached to a quite different vessel – the very fast hydroplaning motor driven MTB.

Early use and World War I

Navies originally built torpedo boat destroyers to protect against torpedo boats, but admirals soon appreciated the flexibility of the fast, multi-purpose vessels that resulted. Vice-Admiral Sir Baldwin Walker laid down destroyer duties for the Royal Navy: [28]

Early destroyers were extremely cramped places to live, being "without a doubt magnificent fighting vessels... but unable to stand bad weather". [29] During the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, the commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo boat destroyer Akatsuki [30] [31] [32] described "being in command of a destroyer for a long period, especially in wartime... is not very good for the health". Stating that he had originally been strong and healthy, he continued, "life on a destroyer in winter, with bad food, no comforts, would sap the powers of the strongest men in the long run. A destroyer is always more uncomfortable than the others, and rain, snow, and sea-water combine to make them damp; in fact, in bad weather there is not a dry spot where one can rest for a moment." [33]

The Japanese destroyer-commander finished with, "Yesterday I looked at myself in a mirror for a long time; I was disagreeably surprised to see my face thin, full of wrinkles, and as old as though I were fifty. My clothes (uniform) cover nothing but a skeleton, and my bones are full of rheumatism." [33]

In 1898, the US Navy officially classified USS Porter, a 175-foot (53 m) long all steel vessel displacing 165 tons, as a torpedo boat. However, her commander, LT. John C. Fremont, described her as "...a compact mass of machinery not meant to keep the sea nor to live in... as five sevenths of the ship are taken up by machinery and fuel, whilst the remaining two sevenths, fore and aft, are the crew's quarters; officers forward and the men placed aft. And even in those spaces are placed anchor engines, steering engines, steam pipes, etc. rendering them unbearably hot in tropical regions." [34]

Early combat

HMS Loyal, of the Laforey class HMS Loyal (1913) IWM SP 001136.jpg
HMS Loyal, of the Laforeyclass

The torpedo boat destroyer's first major use in combat came during the Japanese surprise attack on the Russian fleet anchored in Port Arthur at the opening of the Russo-Japanese War on 8 February 1904.

Three destroyer divisions attacked the Russian fleet in port, firing a total of 18 torpedoes. However, only two Russian battleships, Tsesarevich and Retvizan, and a protected cruiser, Pallada, were seriously damaged due to the proper deployment of torpedo nets. Tsesarevich, the Russian flagship, had her nets deployed, with at least four enemy torpedoes "hung up" in them, [35] and other warships were similarly saved from further damage by their nets. [36]

While capital ship engagements were scarce in World War I, destroyer units engaged almost continually in raiding and patrol actions. The first shot of the war at sea was fired on 5 August 1914 by HMS Lance, one of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, in an engagement with the German auxiliary minelayer Königin Luise. [37]

Destroyers were involved in the skirmishes that prompted the Battle of Heligoland Bight, and filled a range of roles in the Battle of Gallipoli, acting as troop transports and as fire-support vessels, as well as their fleet-screening role. Over 80 British destroyers and 60 German torpedo-boats took part in the Battle of Jutland, which involved pitched small-boat actions between the main fleets, and several foolhardy attacks by unsupported destroyers on capital ships. Jutland also concluded with a messy night action between the German High Seas Fleet and part of the British destroyer screen.

USS Wickes, a Wickes-class destroyer Wickes dd75.jpg
USS Wickes, a Wickes-class destroyer

The threat evolved by World War I with the development of the submarine, or U-boat. The submarine had the potential to hide from gunfire and close underwater to fire torpedoes. Early-war destroyers had the speed and armament to intercept submarines before they submerged, either by gunfire or by ramming. Destroyers also had a shallow enough draft that torpedoes would find it difficult to hit them.

HMS Badger was the first destroyer to successfully ram a submarine HMS Badger (1911).jpg
HMS Badger was the first destroyer to successfully ram a submarine

The desire to attack submarines underwater led to rapid destroyer evolution during the war. They were quickly equipped with strengthened bows for ramming, and depth charges and hydrophones for identifying submarine targets. The first submarine casualty to a destroyer was the German U-19, rammed by HMS Badger on 29 October 1914. While U-19 was only damaged, the next month HMS Garry successfully sank U-18. The first depth-charge sinking was on 4 December 1916, when UC-19 [38] was sunk by HMS Llewellyn.

The submarine threat meant that many destroyers spent their time on anti-submarine patrol. Once Germany adopted unrestricted submarine warfare in January 1917, destroyers were called on to escort merchant convoys. US Navy destroyers were among the first American units to be dispatched upon the American entry to the war, and a squadron of Japanese destroyers even joined Allied patrols in the Mediterranean. Patrol duty was far from safe; of the 67 British destroyers lost in the war, collisions accounted for 18, while 12 were wrecked.

At the end of the war, the state-of-the-art was represented by the British W class.

1918–1945

V-class destroyer, HMS Velox Velox.jpg
V-class destroyer, HMS Velox

The trend during World War I had been towards larger destroyers with heavier armaments. A number of opportunities to fire at capital ships had been missed during the War, because destroyers had expended all their torpedoes in an initial salvo. The British V and W classes of the late war had sought to address this by mounting six torpedo tubes in two triple mounts, instead of the four or two on earlier models. The 'V' and 'W's set the standard of destroyer building well into the 1920s.

The two Romanian destroyers Mărăști and Mărășești, on the other hand, had the greatest firepower of all destroyers in the world throughout the first half of the 1920s. This was largely due to the fact that, between their commissioning in 1920 and 1926, they retained the armament that they had while serving in the Italian Navy as scout cruisers ( esploratori ). When initially ordered by Romania in 1913, the Romanian specifications envisioned three 120 mm guns, a caliber which would eventually be adopted as the standard for future Italian destroyers. Armed with three 152 mm and four 76 mm guns after being completed as scout cruisers, the two warships were officially re-rated as destroyers by the Romanian Navy. The two Romanian warships were thus the destroyers with the greatest firepower in the world throughout much of the interwar period. As of 1939, when the Second World War started, their artillery, although changed, was still close to cruiser standards, amounting to nine heavy naval guns (five of 120 mm and four of 76 mm). In addition, they retained their two twin 457 mm torpedo tubes as well as two machine guns, plus the capacity to carry up to 50 mines. [39]

Fubuki-class destroyer, Uranami Uranami II.jpg
Fubuki-class destroyer, Uranami

The next major innovation came with the Japanese Fubukiclass or 'special type', designed in 1923 and delivered in 1928. The design was initially noted for its powerful armament of six five-inch (127 mm) guns and three triple torpedo mounts. The second batch of the class gave the guns high-angle turrets for anti-aircraft warfare, and the 24-inch (61 cm) oxygen-fueled 'Long Lance' Type 93 torpedo. The later Hatsuharuclass of 1931 further improved the torpedo armament by storing its reload torpedoes close at hand in the superstructure, allowing reloading within 15 minutes.

Most other nations replied with similar larger ships. The US Porterclass adopted twin five-inch (127 mm) guns, and the subsequent Mahanclass and Gridleyclasses (the latter of 1934) increased the number of torpedo tubes to 12 and 16 respectively.

France's Fantasque class, the fastest destroyer class ever built. Fantasque.jpg
France's Fantasqueclass, the fastest destroyer class ever built.

In the Mediterranean, the Italian Navy's building of very fast light cruisers of the Condottiericlass prompted the French to produce exceptional destroyer designs. The French had long been keen on large destroyers, with their Chacalclass of 1922 displacing over 2,000 tons and carrying 130 mm guns; a further three similar classes were produced around 1930. The Fantasqueclass of 1935 carried five 138 millimetres (5.4 in) guns and nine torpedo tubes, but could achieve speeds of 45 knots (83 km/h), which remains the record speed for a steamship and for any destroyer.[ citation needed ] The Italians' own destroyers were almost as swift, most Italian designs of the 1930s being rated at over 38 knots (70 km/h), while carrying torpedoes and either four or six 120 mm guns.

Germany started to build destroyers again during the 1930s as part of Hitler's rearmament program. The Germans were also fond of large destroyers, but while the initial Type 1934 displaced over 3,000 tons, their armament was equal to smaller vessels. This changed from the Type 1936 onwards, which mounted heavy 150 millimetres (5.9 in) guns. German destroyers also used innovative high-pressure steam machinery: while this should have helped their efficiency, it more often resulted in mechanical problems.

Once German and Japanese rearmament became clear, the British and American navies consciously focused on building destroyers that were smaller but more numerous than those used by other nations. The British built a series of destroyers (the Aclass to Iclass) which were about 1,400 tons standard displacement, had four 4.7-inch (119 mm) guns and eight torpedo tubes; the American Bensonclass of 1938 similar in size, but carried five 5-inch (127 mm) guns and ten torpedo tubes. Realizing the need for heavier gun armament, the British built the Tribalclass of 1936 (sometimes called Afridi after one of two lead ships). These ships displaced 1,850 tons and were armed with eight 4.7-inch (119 mm) guns in four twin turrets and four torpedo tubes. These were followed by the J-class and L-class destroyers, with six 4.7-inch (119 mm) guns in twin turrets and eight torpedo tubes.

Anti-submarine sensors included sonar (or ASDIC), although training in their use was indifferent. Anti-submarine weapons changed little, and ahead-throwing weapons, a need recognized in World War I, had made no progress.

Later combat

USS McGowan, a Fletcher-class destroyer during World War II USS McGowan (DD-678) at sea, circa in 1945.jpg
USS McGowan, a Fletcher-class destroyer during World War II

During the 1920s and 1930s, destroyers were often deployed to areas of diplomatic tension or humanitarian disaster. British and American destroyers were common on the Chinese coast and rivers, even supplying landing parties to protect colonial interests.

By World War II the threat had evolved once again. Submarines were more effective, and aircraft had become important weapons of naval warfare; once again the early-war fleet destroyers were ill-equipped for combating these new targets. They were fitted with new light anti-aircraft guns, radar, and forward-launched ASW weapons, in addition to their existing dual-purpose guns, depth charges, and torpedoes. Increasing size allowed improved internal arrangement of propulsion machinery with compartmentation so ships were less likely to be sunk by a single hit. [7] In most cases torpedo and/or dual-purpose gun armament was reduced to accommodate new anti-air and anti-submarine weapons. By this time the destroyers had become large, multi-purpose vessels, expensive targets in their own right. As a result, casualties on destroyers were among the highest.

The need for large numbers of anti-submarine ships led to the introduction of smaller and cheaper specialized anti-submarine warships called corvettes and frigates by the Royal Navy and destroyer escorts by the USN. A similar programme was belatedly started by the Japanese (see Matsu-class destroyer). These ships had the size and displacement of the original torpedo boat destroyers that the contemporary destroyer had evolved from.

Post-World War II

Polish destroyer ORP Blyskawica, currently preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia. Blyskawica l d.jpg
Polish destroyer ORP Błyskawica, currently preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia.

Some conventional destroyers were completed in the late 1940s and 1950s which built on wartime experience. These vessels were significantly larger than wartime ships and had fully automatic main guns, unit machinery, radar, sonar, and antisubmarine weapons such as the Squid mortar. Examples include the British Daring-class, US Forrest Sherman-class, and the Soviet Kotlin-class destroyers.

Some World War II–vintage ships were modernized for anti-submarine warfare, and to extend their service lives, to avoid having to build (expensive) brand-new ships. Examples include the US FRAM I programme and the British Type 15 frigates converted from fleet destroyers.

The advent of surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles, such as the Exocet, in the early 1960s changed naval warfare. Guided missile destroyers (DDG in the US Navy) were developed to carry these weapons and protect the fleet from air, submarine and surface threats. Examples include the Soviet Kashinclass, the British Countyclass, and the US Charles F. Adamsclass.

21st century destroyers tend to display features such as large, slab sides without complicated corners and crevices to keep the radar cross-section small, vertical launch systems to carry a large number of missiles at high readiness to fire and helicopter flight decks and hangars.

Operators

A Chinese Navy Luyang III-class (Type 052D) destroyer PLANS Taiyuan (DDG-131) 20190729.jpg
A Chinese Navy Luyang III-class (Type 052D) destroyer
A Kolkata-class guided missile destroyer of the Indian Navy. INS Kolkata steams alongside the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) during Malabar 2020 (cropped).jpg
A Kolkata-class guided missile destroyer of the Indian Navy.
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Akizuki JS Akizuki in the Sagami Bay during the SDF Fleet Review 2012, -14 Oct. 2012 a.jpg
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Akizuki
HMS Daring, a Type 45 guided missile destroyer of the Royal Navy. HMS Daring-1.jpg
HMS Daring, a Type 45 guided missile destroyer of the Royal Navy.

Former operators

Future development

Baden-Wurttemberg, an F125-class frigate of the German Navy; currently the biggest frigates worldwide. In size and role they are qualified as destroyers BADEN-WURTTEMBERG 00257 (cropped).jpg
Baden-Württemberg, an F125-class frigate of the German Navy; currently the biggest frigates worldwide. In size and role they are qualified as destroyers

Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazilian Navy plans to build 7,000-ton destroyers after the delivery of the new frigates, and TKMS presented to the Navy its most modern 7,200-ton MEKO A-400 air defense destroyer, an updated version of the German F-125-class frigates. The similarities between the projects and the high rate of commonality between requirements were also crucial for the consortium's victory. [42] [43]

Naval ensign of China.svg  People's Liberation Army Navy is adding Type 052D destroyer and Type 055 destroyer class ships to its navy.

Civil and Naval Ensign of France.svg  French Navy is adding FREMM multipurpose frigates to their fleet.

Naval Ensign of Germany.svg  German Navy is currently building F125-class frigates. They are to replace the aging Bremen-class frigates. In addition, six multi-mission surface combat ships are planned under the name 'Mehrzweckkampfschiff 180' (MKS 180), which will have destroyer-size and corresponding capabilities (length: 163m, displacement: 10,400 tons) [44]

Naval Ensign of India.svg  Indian Navy is constructing Visakhapatnam-class destroyers, with first being commissioned in July 2021. It is an improved version of the Kolkata-class destroyers

Flag of Iran.svg  Islamic Republic of Iran Navy is currently building 1-2 Khalije Fars-class destroyers.

Naval Ensign of Italy.svg  Italian Navy is currently research development into their new DDX project to replace their Durand da le Penne-class destroyers. [45]

Naval Ensign of Japan.svg  Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Is developing plans for its DDR Destroyer Revolution Project.

Flag of South Korea.svg  Republic of Korea Navy has begun development of its KDX-IIA destroyers. These ships are to be a subclass of South Korea's Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin-class destroyers. The first unit is expected to enter service in 2019. Additionally, Sejong the Great-class destroyers are being built.

Naval Ensign of Russia.svg  Russian Navy has begun development into its Leader-class destroyer. The first unit is expected to enter service in 2023, with 11 more units to follow in the coming years. [46] Additionally, Russia is also developing its Yuschchenko-class destroyers. [47]

Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkish Naval Forces is currently developing its TF2000-class destroyer as the largest part of the MILGEM project. A total of seven ships will be constructed and will specialise in anti-air warfare.

Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  Royal Navy is in the early stages of developing a Type 4X Destroyer (T4X) to replace its Type 45 Guided Missile Destroyers. Currently an Anti-Air Warfare variant of the upcoming Type 26 Frigate is being considered, which could see the Type 4X Destroyers entering service in the mid-2020's. [48] [49]

Flag of the United States.svg  United States Navy, as of 2018, has 67 active Arleigh Burke destroyers and 15 planned or under construction. The new ships will be the upgraded "flight III" version. [50]

Preserved destroyers

A number of countries have destroyers preserved as museum ships. These include:

See also

Notes

  1. Although the Russian Kirovclass are sometimes classified as battlecruisers, due to their displacement they are described by Russia as large missile cruisers.
  2. Velos is still a commissioned warship within the Hellenic Navy, but is strictly ceremonial and no longer sees action.
  3. Blyskawica is still a commissioned warship within the Polish Navy, but is strictly ceremonial and no longer sees action.

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A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of large caliber guns, which dominated naval warfare in the the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Cruiser Type of large warships

A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and can usually perform several roles.

Frigate Type of warship

A frigate is a type of warship, having various sizes and roles over time.

The United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, and United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) use a hull classification symbol to identify their ships by type and by individual ship within a type. The system is analogous to the pennant number system that the Royal Navy and other European and Commonwealth navies use.

Torpedo boat Small, fast naval ship designed to carry torpedoes into battle

A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval ship designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs were steam-powered craft dedicated to ramming enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes. Later evolutions launched variants of self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes.

Warship Ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare

A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more maneuverable than merchant ships. Unlike a merchant ship, which carries cargo, a warship typically carries only weapons, ammunition and supplies for its crew. Warships usually belong to a navy, though they have also been operated by individuals, cooperatives and corporations.

<i>Tiger</i>-class cruiser Class of British light cruisers

The Tiger-class cruisers were a group of three post-Second World War cruisers of the Royal Navy. They were the last all-gun cruisers completed for the Royal Navy. The three ships came from an order of eight Minotaur-class cruisers ordered in 1941–2, work on the second group of three ships being effectively suspended in mid-1944. The cruisers were finally completed to a changed design, after a very long delay, entering service in the 1960s as the Tiger-class.

Type 93 torpedo Torpedo

The Type 93 was a 610 mm (24 in)-diameter torpedo of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), launched from surface ships. It is commonly referred to as the Long Lance by most modern English-language naval historians, a nickname given to it after the war by Samuel Eliot Morison, the chief historian of the U.S. Navy, who spent much of the war in the Pacific Theater. In Japanese references, the term Sanso gyorai is also used, in reference to its propulsion system. It was the most advanced naval torpedo in the world at the time.

HMS <i>Cleopatra</i> (F28)

HMS Cleopatra (F28) was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy (RN). Cleopatra was built at HMNB Devonport. She was launched on 21 March 1964, commissioned on 1 March 1966 and decommissioned on 31 January 1992.

HMS <i>Danae</i> (F47)

HMS Danae was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy. She was, like the rest of the class, named after a figure of mythology. Danae was built by Devonport Dockyard. She was launched on 31 October 1965 and commissioned on 10 October 1967.

<i>Wickes</i>-class destroyer Destroyer class of the US Navy

The Wickes-class destroyers were a class of 111 destroyers built by the United States Navy in 1917–19. Along with the 6 preceding Caldwell-class and 156 subsequent Clemson-class destroyers, they formed the "flush-deck" or "four-stack" type. Only a few were completed in time to serve in World War I, including USS Wickes, the lead ship of the class.

A destroyer squadron is a naval squadron or flotilla usually consisting of destroyers rather than other types of vessel. In some navies other vessels, such as frigates, may be included. In English the word "squadron" tends to be used for larger and "flotilla" for smaller vessels; both may be used for destroyer units. Similar formations are used in non-English-speaking countries, e.g., the "escadrille"—which would translate directly as "squadron"—in France.

The names of commissioned ships of the United States Navy all start with USS, for United States Ship. Non-commissioned, primarily civilian-manned vessels of the U.S. Navy under the Military Sealift Command have names that begin with USNS, standing for United States Naval Ship. A letter-based hull classification symbol is used to designate a vessel's type. The names of ships are selected by the Secretary of the Navy. The names are those of states, cities, towns, important persons, important locations, famous battles, fish, and ideals. Usually, different types of ships have names originated from different types of sources.

<i>Tucker</i>-class destroyer Destroyer class of the US Navy

The Tucker class of destroyers was a ship class of six ships designed by and built for the United States Navy shortly before the United States entered World War I. The Tucker class was the fourth of five classes of destroyers that were known as the "thousand tonners", because they were the first U.S. destroyers over 1,000 long tons (1,016 t) displacement.

Peoples Liberation Army Navy Surface Force Surface warfare branch of the Peoples Liberation Army Navy

The People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force is the surface warfare branch of China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), consisting of all surface vessels in operational service with the PLAN. The PLAN Surface Force operates 661 ships organized into three fleets: the North Sea Fleet, the East Sea Fleet and the South Sea Fleet.

HMS <i>Vanoc</i> (H33)

HMS Vanoc was a British V-class destroyer, launched in 1917. The ship saw service in both the First and Second World Wars. During the First World War, Vanoc served as part of two destroyer flotillas, undertaking minelayer and convoy escort roles. In 1919, the destroyer took part in British operations in the Baltic as part of Allied efforts to intervene in the Russian Civil War. During the Second World War, Vanoc was involved in evacuation efforts to remove troops from Norway and France, and was utilised as a convoy escort, protecting convoys from German U-boats. In this role, Vanoc sank a German submarine, U-100 in March 1941 in the Atlantic, and assisted in the destruction of another, U-99. Three years later, Vanoc was involved in sinking U-392 in the Straits of Gibraltar in concert with a British frigate and several US anti-submarine aircraft. In January 1945, she was involved in a collision with another Allied vessel off Normandy, before being placed into reserve in June. She was later sold for scrap and was broken up after mid-1946.

HMS <i>Albrighton</i> Hunt-class destroyer operated by the United Kingdom and West Germany

HMS Albrighton was a Type III Hunt-class destroyer built for the British Royal Navy. She entered service in February 1942, first carrying out an attack on German ships in the English Channel then taking part in the Dieppe Raid, rescuing survivors from the sinking destroyer HMS Broke. Albrighton was next assigned to search for and destroy the German auxiliary cruiser Komet, then escorted a convoy to Gibraltar in prevision of the Allied landings in North Africa. Between December 1942 and April 1943, she participated in the sinking of three more Axis ships with the First Destroyer Flotilla. During the Normandy Landings in June 1944, Albrighton served as a headquarters ship, then sank two German trawlers in the weeks after the invasion. After being converted to a destroyer in early 1945, she was damaged in a collision with a Landing Ship, then was assigned to the British Eastern Fleet. However, the war ended before she was deployed and Albrighton went into reserve.

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Further reading

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