As we move through the thick haze of combat ship taxonomy and explanation, there are some naval classes get all of the luck in the naming department. That is very true of the classification of combat naval ship we are examining for this installment of Ships of the Line: the Destroyer. Much like Battleships, Dreadnoughts, and assault ships, the Destroyer just has a cool name that allows the public to nearly understand the role of this naval combat vessel...or does it? Find out as we explore and explain the role of the Destroyer in the modern navy and in science fiction.
What is an "Destroyer"?
Modern Navy Destroyers
The Future of the Naval Destroyer
The US Navy Zumwait is considered the near future of the modern Guided Missile Destroyer. Sleek new design with greater naval stealth capabilities and cutting edge weaponry. The new 155mm advanced naval gun system that fires guided and unguided shells. It is also believed that in the near future, the Zumwait class will host the naval rail gun and point-defense lasers. The really funny thing about the recent launch of the Zumwait is that her skipper is James A. Kirk.
What is the Difference between Missile Cruisers, Destroyers, and Frigates?
The Hard Science Destroyer
The Sci-Fi Destroyer Class
Sci-Fi and the Destroyer
Why Does Babylon 5's EarthForce have so many Destroyers?
WARNING! The following is extremely geeky in nature. Read at your own risk! Star Trek's Starfleet has their heavy cruisers and the Babylon 5 EarthForce has their destroyers. And has FWS answered that Star Trek question about the heavy cruiser obsession of Starfleet, I think we need to answer EarthForce's serious crush on Destroyer class warships. I can answer this one with both a real-world and in-universe explanation. Babylon 5 had a limited special effects budget, and this limited each major race one or two CGI starships. So, it seemed to the viewer that races like EarthForce, the Minbari, and the Narn only had one capital warship to defend their territory. When it came time to develop the iconic EarthForce warship, there was a limited budget, and so, the Omega class was featured whenever the story needed an EarthForce ship to be present...most of the time. As B5 got more popular, the show's SFX budget became higher, and more CGI warships were added. Also, video games, RPGs, and miniature games added more ships to the core races of the B5 universe.
The UN Cosmo Navy Isokaze Class Torpedo Destroyer
The iconic anime series Space Cruiser Yamato most well known warships is the Yamato battleship and it's against-all-odds situations. However, in the first space battle in the Space Cruiser Yamato series and the recent reboot, we see a more primitive UN Cosmo Navy engaged in a desperate battle with the Gamilons near Pluto. One of the ships seen in the battle was the Isokaze class torpedo destroyer. This class became famous due to the selfless sacrifice of Missile Ship #17 "Yukikaze" commanded by Mamoru Kodai.
The Isokaze class was a small easy to product warship that featured one of the most effective weapons against the alien warships: torpedoes. Three bow-mounted torpedo launching tubes where the primary offensive armament, and coupled with the good maneuverable, groups of these destroyers could take on Gamilon warships with a chance of success.
During the bloody defeat of the last UN warships in a desperate last-ditch effort to stop the flow of radiation bombs from the alien base on Plato.
The EarthForce Omega Class Destroyer from the B5 Universe
Just before the bloody and transformative Earth-Minbari War of 2245-2247, Earth and her people were on the edge of an era of expansion after the Dilgar War. However, the warships for EarthForce, while many, were no match technologically of the other races. EarthForce needed a new class of warship that could show the flag and her teeth. Rocketdyne presented their answer to that problem: the Draft Horse hull. Taking a solution from the automotive industry where the use of common chassis is a common practice, the idea was to design several types of frontline warships around the common hull design. The name of the hull comes from one of the designers who felt the forward section of the design appeared equine.
The Eve Online Destroyers
The EarthForce Warlock Class Advanced Heavy Destroyer from the B5 Universe
During the construction of the first Warlock class, secretive alien technology from the Shadows via the Drahk was incorporated into the spaceframe and components, much like the Omega-X project. Originally, the Warlock was not be fitted with the rotating sections as with the Omega class, however, that was changed after the liberation of Earth and with an loan of Minbari artificial gravity technology. This made the Warlock class the first EarthForce vessel with artificial gravity. After the war, EarthForce rushed out several Warlock class vessels, including the EAS Titans commanded by Susan Ivanova. Despite the class name, there is no member of this class of heavy Destroyer with the name "warlock".
The Covenant CPV class Heavy Destroyer from the HALO universe
The Destroyers of the Honorverse
One of the warship classes that exists in the Honorverse is the Destroyer. This small warship of between 65,000-80,000 tons was an jack-of-all-trades warship, filling in for escort duties, patrolling, recon, commerce escort, and raiding. The most current and advanced Destroyer in the Honorverse was Roland class of the Royal Manticoran Navy. This vessel was heavier and mounted several missile launchers, laser broadside cannons along with missiles and lasers for defensive fire.
The Chig U378 Class Destroyer from Space:Above and Beyond
The Federation Baker class Destroyer from the Star Trek Universe
Here is yet another class of Federation statship that existed in the FASA starship combat game of the 1980's, but is not canon, despite many of us fans growing up with these familiar designs. The Baker class is one of those FASA designs of starship that looks great from the top, despite the terrible placement of the impulse drive, but odd from the profile drawings. From the original FASA manual, the Baker was originally developed has a research vessel, but that was altered to need by Starfleet for an warship to backup the Miranda and Constitution classes after the decommissioning of the old Saladin class destroyer. The Baker was hearty armed with tons of interior space, and it serviced in Starfleet taskforces. Given its offensive role, fewer Baker class destroyers would be constructed. In the old FASA Star Trek Starship Tactical Combat Simulator game, the Baker was a backup firepower ship in formations, with several servicing the taskforce. FASA did product an miniature of the Baker class, and I always liked the look of the Baker class.
The EDF Gearing class Destroyer from the Space Cruiser Yamato/Starblazer Universe
After the grueling Earth/Gamilon War, the EDF began to rebuild their fleet to prepare for the next one, and they need ships...lots of ships. In order to field the maximum number of warships, the EDF turned to partial-automation and common hull designs. The Gearing class is a symbol of that time in EDF history and during the massive fleet replenishment operation of 2200-2201, the Earth Government asked the major nations to shelter some of the costs of the warships.
The United States sponsored the Gearing class and got the rights to name each of these Destroyers to come off of the line. This 112 meter long Destroyer was crewed by 45, and it main offensive weaponry was spaceborne torpedoes with defensive armaments being pulse-laser cannons to deal with incoming fighters or missiles. The Gearing class was designed to be built in massive numbers to take the pressure off of the main warships in the taskforce. During the Battle of Saturn, the Gearing class served as screener vessels for the flagship Andromeda and the Borodino class Battleships; attempting to keep the White Comet Empire ships off of her. This caused heavy losses among this class along with the one-shot-one-kill ability of the DE cannons of the White Comet Empire warships. This class was seen in the background of the massive Battle of Saturn in Series II: The White Comet Empire. Due to the similar between the Gearing class, Airone class, and the Konigsberg class, it is difficult to see which class is on-screen. This class suffers from one of the common curses in the Space Cruiser Yamato universe...all other EDF ships get destroyed...save for the Yamato. Sucks to be in the EDF I guess.
The Dominion Jem'Hadar "Fighter" class Destroyer from Star Trek: DS9
The Gamilon Exterminator class Destroyer from the Space Cruiser Yamato Universe
The USL Lola III Class Destroyer from the Battletech Universe
The Romulan T-10 Reema "Bright One" class Destroyer from the Star Trek Universe
The Interstellar Alliance Victory Class Advanced Destroyer from Crusader
The Federation Saladin class Destroyer from the Star Trek Universe