Destroyers are no strangers to every one. Whether in movies or in the news, destroyers have left a deep impression on people. Although we can’t see the destroyer up close, we can’t resist the curiosity of netizens. 

As one of the most powerful weapons at sea, how thick is the steel plate of the destroyer? Is it really as indestructible as in the movie? Let’s Talk about it.

There are a lot of misconceptions about warships, such as how thick the armor must be and how powerful the firepower of the destroyers must be. On the other hand, modern destroyers are not like WWII battleships.

In the era of large ships and giant guns during World War II, the armor thickness of battleships is at least 300 mm.

destroyer

One may compare this thickness to the Japanese devil Yamato in terms of power. Even though the destroyer’s steel plate was 650 mm thick, the battleship’s tonnage was just 70,000 tons, which is comparatively light.

In terms of defense capability, destroyers have always been comparatively poor. Since the end of World War II, American destroyers have generally weighed several thousand tons, with an armor thickness of less than 50 mm.

If today’s destroyers travel back to World War II, the battleship will have a laugh seeing it. This thin-skinned and big stuff may be finished with one shot, and there is no way to resist it.

There is a gap between destroyers and battleships regarding tonnage and armor. The tonnage of modern destroyers can reach 10,000, which is a top-level destroyer. Compared with battleships, it is not enough to see.

So why don’t modern destroyers upgrade their armor when technology is developed?

The answer is straightforward because it is not necessary. It is enough.

First of all, like the 9,000-ton “Arleigh Burke” class destroyer in the United States or China’s 12,000-ton 055 destroyer, the steel plate itself is not that thick, and the navies of various countries also scoff at the method of hard-resistant attack through armor.

destroyer

The material usage level of modern destroyers is very high, and the metallurgical technology used is also very mature. 

Although destroyer steel plates are not very thick, when compared to destroyer steel plates during World War II, their hardness can be 2-3 times that of the opposing party.

That is, the steel plate thickness of modern destroyers is no different than that of World War II destroyers, but the combat capability has been increased by at least 2-3 times.

Secondly, the defensive thinking of modern naval warfare has undergone a complete change from the cumbersome beatings during World War II. 

After all, missiles were not invented during World War II. In other words, it is useless no matter how thick your steel plate is; A few missiles can sink you.

For example, an anti-ship missile can easily penetrate a steel plate thicker than 100 mm, let alone a destroyer. If you capture a battleship during WWII, you must shoot it in the soul and sink the corpse directly to the sea’s bottom.

Since missiles started to appear, destroyers’ defensive tactics have also altered from passive beating to active defense, employing a variety of air defense missiles, close defense systems, and naval guns to engage any threats to the destroyer.

The destroyers have made many improvements in manufacturing protective steel plates. The steel plate is no longer thicker but starts with strength and is reduced by smelting and composite materials. The weight of the steel plate makes it lighter.

The steel plate of the destroyer is no longer a means of defense, so it is better to increase the strength and assign all active defense capabilities to various artillery and anti-aircraft missiles so there will be no waste of funds.

The steel plate of the destroyer is not as thick and hard as we imagined, but it is thinner than the steel plate of some merchant ships.