DVIDS - News - Weaponry, Technology and Threats Improve Destroyers Over Time



With the advancement of technology and weaponry, as well as evolving threats to the United States, the progression of the U.S. Navy destroyer has changed dramatically over the years. The first destroyers, built more than 100 years ago, were designed as torpedo-boat destroyers, said James Harrison, director for the Expeditionary Warfare Ships Division at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA 05D3), during another one of his history lessons at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Maryland, on Sept. 6. In From Flivvers to Flight III, Harrison talked about the evolution of the Navys destroyers. He called the very first destroyers built starting in 1899 proto-destroyers since the Navy was still trying to figure out exactly what a destroyer should be. He said he considers the flivver, commissioned in 1909, the first ship built with a true destroyer mission.When other navies were building torpedo boats to go after battleships, which were large and expensive, the U.S. Navy decided to build less-expensive, ocean-going, high-speed boats to protect the battleship and other high-value assets from asymmetric threats.You dont want your battleships fighting torpedo boats, you want them fighting other battleships, Harrison said. The Smith- and Paulding-class torpedo-boat destroyers, starting with USS Smith (DD-17), became known as flivvers because the ship was built in fairly high numbers, was high-powered a....

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