The word “Destroyer” itself signifies force, destruction and force. It’s not surprising that when it comes to naval terminology, destroyers are powerful warships designed to show power, carry out complicated missions, and bring enemies to the ground. But, the destroyer did not begin as a warship. Initially, it was a tiny quick, agile, and maneuverable fleet escort ship, known as a destroyer of torpedo boats, which was designed to locate and destroy the enemy’s torpedo boats. Torpedo destroyers were built in the later period of the 18th century and were popularized following World War I. They gradually increased in size until they became effective surface combatants during World War II. The development of surface-to-air naval and cruise missiles revolutionized the destroyer’s appearance, size, and capabilities.
The arrival of a warship with guns was replaced with modern lines with missiles stored under decks. Although modern destroyers appear less intimidating contrasted with their WW2 predecessors, the fact is that they are equipped with many times the power and advanced sensors that allow a modern destroyer to complete the work of about ten older ones. The contemporary navy cannot afford to run destroyers due to budget, technical personnel, or location restrictions. Here is a list of the five of the top destroyers in the world:
1. “King Sejong of the class known as “the Great” South Korea
The ships were constructed in the shortest time frame (around two years) and have the honorific status of being the largest destroyer, which can weigh more than 11,000 tonnes at full load. The design is based on the Arleigh Burke model. These ships are equipped with extensive sensors and weapons suite, which allows the ship to perform every mission, including cruise missile defence, striking land targets that are 1500 kilometres away, to high-intensity anti-submarine warfare.
A single warship in this class could wipe out the North Korean surface and sub-surface fleet and crush targets within their borders without a sweat. The sophisticated onboard radars frequently monitor North Korean space and missile launches. Three additional ships are being built to enhance the current three operating.
2. Arleigh Burke-class [USA]
It is believed that the Arleigh Burke class ranks as the top popular destroyer class worldwide, serving 62 warships and seven more in construction. The decrease in Zumwalt class destroyers, down to three from 32, is expected to provide another growth to Arleigh Burke-class since they are the one destroyer in mass production. The number of units is anticipated to increase to about 80 ships by 2025 due to upgraded Flight III ships.
Since their launch at the beginning of 1991, the ships have been deployed in all theatres of war in the US Navy and carried out deterrence patrols, escorts as well as anti-piracy operations, defence of ballistic missiles as well as an anti-air, land attacks as well as HADR (humanitarian and relief from disasters) missions, which makes it a rich source of combat knowledge. They are ships that weigh 9800 tons. Ships are equipped with powerful radars, an enormous missile armament and constant modernization, which makes them well-equipped to deal with every threat across the ocean anywhere in the world.
3. Atago class [Japan]
The Atago class destroyers constitute the core of Japanese air defence based in the sea by deploying advanced sensors and missiles long-range. With growing missile threats emanating from North Korea and Chinese adventurism in the vicinity of the disputable Senkaku Island, Japan will continue strengthening its Atago class fleet from two ships to four. And the new ships are equipped with exo-atmospheric ballistic missile defence. The 10000-ton destroyers significantly focused on long-range air defence since the Japanese did not have carrier-based jets to perform the task.
The Lagos are significantly more extensive than those of the Arleigh Burkes from which they derived their initial design. There have been significant changes to the vessel; however, they include superstructure layouts and VLS layouts that easily differentiate it from American Burkes. Presently, Atago is far more sophisticated and powerful than other Chinese warships. Yet, it could soon be removed from its position due to the introduction of the next-generation Chinese missile cruisers. The Lagos has a deficiency in long-range offensive firepower, which is in line with defence Japanese military doctrine.
4. Type-52D / Luyang III-class / Kunming class [China]
The successor to the highly efficient Type-52C destroyers, the 52D features a variety of improvements from radars, guns, and guns and missile launchers. The seven-ton destroyers are currently being manufactured in mass quantities and are anticipated to form the foundation of the PLAN’s blue-water goals. The most notable feature of the vessel is the Universal Vertical Launch System that lets a single launcher unleash a range of missiles, ranging from air to surface, anti-submarine, anti-ship and land-based attack cruise missiles.
This technology, first developed by the US, has been refined by the Chinese, too, making China the second country in the world to achieve this feat (The VLS systems like UKSK and Sylver aren’t truly universal). The ships will likely be improved and eventually be the powerful Type 55 destroyer. In the past, the 12th destroyer was launched, and one of the destroyers is currently in service in the Liaoning carrier battle group.
5. Hobart Class (Australia)
The Royal Australian Navy is inching toward achieving the sought-after ‘Blue Water Navy’ designation and acquiring the 6900-ton Hobart-class. It is only one of the assets it’s developing, alongside others, including two Canberra class LHDs (which can serve as mini-carriers in conjunction with the F-35B) and 12 diesel heavy submarines, as well as a fleet of new frigates. The Hobarts permit the RAN to offer an area of 600 km protected by an umbrella while also serving in the capacity of escorting fleets. Thus, bringing them to the standard of other top naval forces using comparable air defence capabilities for quite some years now.
It is believed at three Hobarts outfitted with SM-6 missiles will be equipped to provide sufficient protection against airborne threats on their northern coastline. This is an enormous capability improvement due to the sophisticated long-range radars and missiles on the board. Although they are marketed by the AWD (Air Warfare Destroyers), they have essential anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities.
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