Cruisers, Naval

By definition, a cruiser is a naval war vessel that is smaller than a battleship and larger than a destroyer. Cruisers have served a number of different purposes since their inception, including commerce raiding, air defense, and shore bombardment. Today, cruisers are capable of engaging enemies on land, sea, or air using advanced weaponry and technology. This entry discusses the history of cruisers and describes the features and missile systems of contemporary cruisers.


In the past, the word cruising was used to describe the mission that a sailing vessel was to undertake. These “cruising” missions would be anything from commerce raiding, to scouting, to protection of other ships. Until the mid-19th century, the predominant cruiser type was known as a frigate. These sailing ships were lightweight ...

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