The warship type known as the destroyer came into being during the period from 1868 to 1900. As a ship class, destroyers are a good example of how technology can drive ship design and type. They also highlight how warship design must balance speed, endurance, armament, and maneuverability against purpose. Steam and torpedoes gave birth to the original destroyers. Today, the term destroyer refers to a multimission surface warship capable of any number of tasks. These include hunting submarines, air defense, and even overland strike using cruise missiles. The standard warship of today is a destroyer, and all the surface fleets of the world are essentially built around this type of ship. This entry provides a brief history of the destroyer, then discusses its roles, ...

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