The modern, high-tech destroyers we are looking at today may look futuristic and fresh, but the earliest models of destroyers offered at the end of the 19th century were far from today’s standards. Those military ships have undergone many developments throughout the twentieth century so that they can look and function as they do now.
Today destroyers are perhaps one of the most useful and powerful types of warships in a navy’s fleet, but it seems only elite armies have them at their disposal. And even these nations only have a few. But, why is this? Let’s take a closer look.
A brief history of destroyers
In order to understand the destroyer’s importance, we need to take a look at its development history. The concept of such ships arose when the first self-propelled torpedo was invented in the 1860s. It was around this time that the first ships fitted with steam launchers (to fire torpedoes) appeared and, in the following years , a wide range of new models has developed.
One of these models, the torpedo gunboat, became particularly famous among the navies. Its main role was to hunt and destroy torpedo boats. Although in the late 1890s it was replaced by the faster and generally more efficient torpedo destroyers.
So, at this point in our timeline, the idea of the destroyer inevitably arose as a ship capable of protecting the fleet from close-range attackers like torpedo boats. The first two classes of these ships were the Daring class and the Hvock class of the Royal Navy.
However, these ships were too slow to keep up with the fleet they had to protect. But after further improvements made by different nations, the end result turned out to be quite functional. Its main purpose was to protect the fleet from torpedo boats, but due to its flexibility and speed, it actually functioned as a versatile military vessel. He could attack, watch, seek, and support through wars and battles.
Such ships were really expected to perform very well in real battle as well and it did. Destroyers played a huge role in both world wars; appearing in almost all major naval conflicts. Japanese destroyers, in particular, were put to good use in battles and suffered heavy losses in the US and Soviet navies.
After the wars and until now, destroyers have been further developed and have also been equipped with modern technology and more powerful artillery. In the 21st century, you’ll find destroyers with helicopter flight decks and hangars, as well as those with
special designs to avoid being easily noticed by speed cameras and other features.
These marines have destroyers
Although before and during WWII destroyers were built at a breathtaking pace, today they are far from usual. In fact, there are less than 20 navies in the world that have at least one destroyer in their fleet.
Not surprisingly, the US military owns the majority with 67 active Arleigh Burk destroyers as well as fifteen under construction and two Zumwalt-class destroyers. Interestingly, the US Navy has almost as many destroyers as all the other nations combined. China follows with 32 ships, followed by India and Russia with nearly 15 each.
Here’s why destroyers are so rare
It is easy to notice that destroyers are super rare among the navies. But what is the real reason behind this? Well, that’s their price! Although the army of almost every country has a multipurpose ship, its construction, maintenance and deployment are expensive.
The cost of a single destruction can vary between $ 1 billion and $ 4 billion. The most expensive of its kind, the USS Zumwalt the Zumwalt-class destroyer cost $ 4.2 billion.
For many small navies that deploy their fleet in a smaller area, a destroyer is really not necessary. Small ships can do the job a lot better and cheaper because they are smaller and work well for tasks like patrolling. But of course, for navies like the US, the destroyer can prove very useful. These expensive ships can be worth it, as they provide security for any carrier battle group. Protecting the world’s most expensive and advanced aircraft carriers is no easy task, is it?
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