A destroyer is a class of multipurpose high-speed ships designed to combat enemy air, surface and submarine forces. The tasks of the destroyers include escorting sea convoys and formations of warships, carrying out patrol service, providing cover and fire support for amphibious assault forces, observation and reconnaissance, laying minefields, search and rescue and special operations. In the 21st century, specific tasks were added to the "traditional" missions of destroyers: striking targets in the interior of the continent using high-precision weapons, missile defense on a strategic scale (Theater Air Defense) and destroying objects in low earth orbit.
Sometimes they are contemptuously called "tin cans". It would seem an insulting comparison, but British sailors, on the contrary, are proud of the derogatory nickname of their ships: after all, "can" (tin) sounds like "can" to the British ear! Or maybe there are a lot of destroyers …
Small brave ships fought alongside battleships and aircraft carriers, enduring damage from enemy fire. The compartments were burning, and the set of the hull was destroyed, the deck writhed in the raging flame - but the shots of the surviving guns sparkled, anti-aircraft guns crackled tirelessly and torpedoes stuck into the water with a dull roar. The destroyer was on her last attack. And when he received a mortal wound, he hid in the sea foam, never lowering his flag in the face of the enemy.
Monument to the destroyer "Guarding" in St. Petersburg. The second monument to the crew of the "Guarding" was erected in Japan - the enemy was imbued with respect for the Russian sailors
The feat of the destroyer "Guarding", which single-handedly took the battle with the Japanese squadron at the walls of Port Arthur. When four sailors from the 50 crew remained alive, the heroes flooded their ship with the last effort.
Destroyer Johnston that rescued US aircraft carriers in Leyte Gulf. The radar antenna dangled among the rigging, all decks were covered with debris and torn bodies of sailors. The roll increased. But "Johnston" stubbornly crawled forward, covering the carrier ships with a salutary veil of smoke. Until another Japanese shell gutted the destroyer's engine room.
The legendary Soviet destroyer Thundering, the heroic ships Johnston, Hole and Samuel B. Roberts … the sinking Israeli destroyer Eilat … the British destroyer Coventry fighting off the advancing Argentine Air Force planes … launching dozens of Tomahawk destroyers US Navy Orly Burke class …
Surprisingly, in each case we are talking about completely dissimilar ships - different in size, characteristics and purpose. And the point is not at all the notorious age difference - even destroyers of the same age often have such large differences that, de facto, they belong to different classes.
The idea of a destroyer as a "small universal ship" does not correspond to reality. Real life is far from any stereotypes - each warship is built for a specific task; for actions in pre-agreed conditions (in the coastal zone, in open sea areas, in conditions of the possible use of nuclear weapons, etc.); against a well-known enemy (the United States and Japan have suspected of an impending war in the Pacific since the beginning of the twentieth century). An important factor is the financial potential of an individual state, the level of development of its science and the capabilities of its industry. All this unambiguously sets the look of the future ship and influences the determination of the range of its priority tasks.
I suggest readers to check what ships are hidden behind the banal phrase "destroyer" and what unexpected solutions shipbuilders sometimes offer.
First of all, be sure to note that destroyers are "real" and "fake" … We'll talk about real destroyers below. As for the "fake" ones, these are, most often, modest ships, which, in terms of their size and combat capabilities, do not meet any of the requirements for destroyers of their generation. At best, they are frigates. At worst, anything, even a missile boat.
Nevertheless, with a light stroke of the pen, and in spite of all enemies, they are enrolled in the honorary caste of destroyers. Typical propaganda and the desire to seem better than it really is.
"Cheap show-off" usually ends in tears - having met some serious enemy, the "false destroyer" lets off steam from the punched sides and proudly sinks to the seabed.
The infamous destroyer Eilat, sunk by Egyptian missile boats in October 1967. He is the former British destroyer HMS Zealous, launched in 1944. It is fair to admit that by the time it entered service, HMS Zealous looked dull against the background of its peers - American, Japanese or German destroyers. A nondescript, outdated ship, only 2000 tons of displacement - not enough for a destroyer, even by the standards of the Second World War.
And here are the other "outsiders" - British Type 42 destroyers (better known as "Sheffield"). By the end of the 1970s, the degradation of Her Majesty's fleet reached such proportions that these unfortunate vessels with a displacement of 4,500 tons had to be included in the destroyers - for comparison, the American and Soviet destroyers of those years were twice as large, and in terms of combat capabilities they were generally superior to the Sheffields. by an order of magnitude.
The consequences were not long in coming - during the 1982 Falklands War, British replica warships were beaten with conventional bombs from subsonic jet attack aircraft. A resounding slap in the face of Her Majesty's fleet.
(however, the British made certain conclusions from this story - the 2nd and 3rd modifications of the Sheffields turned out much better)
HMS Sheffield following a fire on board caused by an unexploded missile
Now, excluding the "fakes" from consideration, let's move on to real destroyers - wonderful combat systems that have become a "storm of the seas."
The first subspecies of destroyers are air defense destroyers
The name speaks for itself, the ships are focused on fighting air targets and, it must be admitted, the efforts of the designers were not in vain. Modern naval air defense systems make it possible to control the space hundreds of kilometers from the side of the ship - if there is an air defense destroyer in the order, an air attack on the squadron becomes an extremely risky and ineffective venture: even a supersonic anti-ship missile, traveling at an extremely low altitude, does not guarantee a breakthrough through the "indestructible shield" of the destroyer air defense.
The idea of an air defense destroyer is not new - such ships have been known since the Second World War. For example, the Japanese destroyer Akizuki. Despite Japan's serious lag in radio engineering and fire control systems, the Japanese managed to create a fairly successful destroyer with a total displacement of 3,700 tons, which became one of the best destroyers of the Second World War. Exceptionally powerful anti-aircraft weapons (not in quality, but in quantity - up to 60 barrels of anti-aircraft guns of all calibers!) + Incredible fuel autonomy (a full supply of fuel oil was enough for 8000 miles)!
In our time, the undisputed favorite is the British "Daring" (destroyer type 45). In terms of combating air targets, the Daring has no equal. What is his one super-radar with an active phased array or a set of anti-aircraft missiles with an active homing head, capable of reaching an enemy aircraft below the radio horizon. A beautiful, powerful and modern ship, the pride of Her Majesty's fleet.
HMS Dragon (D35) - fourth type 45 destroyer
The second subspecies are "shock" destroyers
This includes destroyers, "sharpened" for the destruction of enemy ships, as well as having any special abilities for fire support of amphibious assault forces or the delivery of missile and artillery strikes against coastal targets. Nowadays, their number is rapidly decreasing - ships are becoming more and more versatile, nevertheless, the idea of a "shock destroyer" is occasionally realized in the form of absolutely fantastic designs.
Destroyer of project 956 (code "Sarych"). Missile and artillery ship with automatic guns of 130 mm caliber and supersonic anti-ship missiles "Moskit". A classic strike destroyer with weakened anti-aircraft and anti-aircraft defense.
The second prominent representative is the Chinese destroyer type 052 "Lanzhou" (by now it is morally obsolete). Very mediocre capabilities in terms of anti-aircraft and anti-submarine defense, but there are as many as 16 anti-ship missiles on board the Lanzhou!
Chinese destroyer Qingdao (DDG-113). The Stars and Stripes are just a courtesy gesture on a visit to Pearl Harbor.
And of course, the incredible destroyer Zamvolt cannot be ignored! A fantastic stealth ship, the "silver bullet of the Pentagon" - the euphoria around the promising American destroyer has not subsided for almost 10 years. In addition to unusual, futuristic forms, the project attracted public attention with an unusual composition of weapons - for the first time in half a century, it is planned to install two automated AGS 155 mm guns on a warship. Rate of fire 10 shots / min. The firing range of high-precision projectiles is over 100 kilometers!
Moving along the enemy coast, the invisible stealth destroyer will bombard ports, coastal cities and enemy military bases with her six-inch shells. And for "difficult targets" on board "Zamvolt" there are 80 UVPs for launching anti-aircraft missiles and cruise kamikaze robots "Tomahawk".
The third subspecies - Large anti-submarine ships or destroyers PLO
During the Cold War, the threat from nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles was so great that both superpowers struggled to saturate the fleet with anti-submarine weapons. As a result, BODs appeared in the USSR Navy - large destroyers with hypertrophied anti-submarine weapons. Monstrous 700-ton sonar stations, anti-submarine rocket torpedoes, anti-submarine helicopter, rocket launchers and anti-submarine torpedoes - all the means to detect and destroy enemy SSBNs!
The Yankees moved in a similar direction - "to have an anti-submarine frigate or destroyer for every Soviet submarine." One of the results of this approach was a large series of Spruance-class destroyers. In the ranks of the US Navy, these ships performed the function of our BODs with some adjustment for the versatility of weapons. A notable feature of the "Spruens" was the absence of a collective defense air defense system - the destroyers' air defense was rather weak and ineffective.
A good ship in all respects got even better with the advent of vertical missile launchers - six dozen Tomahawks turned the Spruance into a real destroyer.
The fourth subspecies - helicopter destroyers
A specific invention of a Japanese genius. Nostalgia for the glorious days of Pearl Harbor. Constitutional ban on aircraft carriers and strike weapons. Serious threat from the Soviet submarine fleet.
All this determined the appearance of the Japanese destroyers: the main armament was helicopters. From 3 to 11 rotorcraft on board, depending on the type of ship. However, on board each of the Japanese destroyer-helicopter carriers there are a number of built-in weapons: from artillery pieces to air defense systems and anti-submarine rocket torpedoes.
Destroyer-helicopter carrier "Haruna"
Destroyer-helicopter carrier "Hyuga". The dimensions are the same as for the Mistral UDC
Fifth subspecies - universal destroyers
A rare but very cool type of destroyer. There used to be a lot of them, now there is practically only one "Orly Burke" and its derivatives. China is working in this direction, but so far all its attempts do not come close to the level of the American Aegis destroyer.
The creation of such a ship in our time requires colossal efforts of the military-industrial complex, the highest level of development of science and gigantic financial costs. The only ones who managed to fully implement this idea were the Americans. In the early 90s, the US Navy received a supership with 96 vertical launchers Mk41 (the entire range of missiles adopted by the US Navy is loaded - missiles, PLUR, Tomahawk cruise missiles, anti-satellite missiles Standard 3 - everything except ballistic missiles).
Universal UVP Mk41 would not have had that mystical effect without the Aegis combat information and control system - the AN / SPY-1 radar with four phased antenna arrays. Simultaneous tracking of thousands of air, surface and underwater targets within a radius of two hundred miles from the ship. Efficiency and speed of decision making. Special modes of operation of the radar. Real-time data exchange with other ships and aircraft. All the ship's radio electronics - detection equipment, radio communications, satellite communications, weapons - all the ship's systems are linked into a single information circuit.
Yeah … Destroyer "Berk" is good, although it is not without flaws: thin tin sides and disgustingly low survivability - the scourge of all modern ships. In addition, the "Berks" of the first modification were not at all universal - the priority of the Aegis destroyer has always been air defense. All other problems did not interest him.
Initially, the "Berks" did not even provide for the permanent basing of the helicopter. Anti-submarine defense was left at the mercy of simpler ships - the same destroyers of the "Spruance" class.
In conclusion, I would like to note that the named five subspecies of destroyers (from an air defense destroyer to an attack destroyer and a helicopter carrier) is not a complete list of the specializations of destroyers.
For example, during the Second World War, there was a need for escort destroyers - specific ships for solving convoy missions - hence the unusual requirements for their design and composition of weapons.
In addition, there were mine-layer destroyers (type "Robert Smith"); radar patrol destroyers; destroyers converted into anti-submarine ships under the FRAM program … The range of tasks of destroyers is extremely wide and it is not surprising that specialized designs are created to solve any important problem.
Project 956 destroyer and American Spruance-class destroyer