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“Playing video games on board the Burke class destroyer

  Not long ago, on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71), a video of a soldier manning an MK-38 (MOD2) close-in gun to destroy a suspected Somali pirate ship created a lot of buzz.

  In the video, the soldier is not standing in front of the gun mount in the traditional way to control the gun firing, but sitting in front of the control panel in the cabin, facing the image of the target on the LCD screen, using the handle to attack the video game in a way similar to the way, in less than a minute will quickly destroy the target.

  Attacking in a way similar to “playing video games” is not uncommon in “over-the-horizon air combat” or drone attacks, but is quite rare in naval warfare. The USS Ross, launched in 1996 as the Burke Batch I (Flight I), has been modernized and upgraded to provide a much higher level of high-tech combat capability.

  ”The Burke class destroyers are the mainstay of the U.S. Navy. Since the first ship, the USS Arleigh Burke, was launched in 1989, 77 destroyers have been produced in seven batches (including those under construction), making them one of the most advanced destroyers in the world.

  Although the destroyer is now the mainstay of all naval powers, it was not as popular as it is today when it was first introduced as a ship type. The introduction and rise of the destroyer is closely related to one weapon: the torpedo.

Fighting against torpedoes

  Since artillery was introduced to warships, the only requirement of naval warfare for the main battleship was “a strong ship with a strong gun”, as long as the firepower was stronger, it could sink the other side before the enemy ship could sink our ship. After the Industrial Revolution, steam engines and blasting bombs came on board, making the pace of naval warfare faster and demanding higher protection for ships. As a result, sail ships gradually receded from the stage of history, and full steam-powered ironclads came into being. The “giant ship cannonism” became the ultimate romance of maritime warriors at that time.

  On December 3, 1907, the British battleship “Dreadnought” was officially commissioned. With a full load displacement of 21,840 tons and a speed of 21 knots, she was the world’s first modern battleship and the largest and most advanced warship of her time. “The appearance of the Dreadnought announced that the battleships of other countries collectively lagged behind the times, setting off a new round of naval power building frenzy.

  Although battleships are powerful, they are not without natural enemies. In 1866, the “Whitehead” torpedo was introduced, which could attack the hull of a battleship near the draft line with a power far greater than that of a cannon ball, and efficiently sink the opponent. Since then, how to sink expensive warships with low-cost torpedoes has become an important issue for navies.

  In the 1870s, all European naval powers had small ships loaded with torpedoes in service. These torpedo boats of small tonnage and low speed were sufficient to threaten battleships when attacking in clusters. By the end of the 19th century, nearly a thousand torpedo boats were in service, and the naval powers were all vigorously developing torpedo boats and means of countertorpedo boats while using giant ships to show off their force.

  In 1893, HMS Havoc, equipped with four guns and three torpedo launchers, was launched. With a speed of 27 knots and more firepower than torpedo boats, this British ship could destroy any torpedo boat in a short time and was named “TorpedoBoatDestroyer”. “The Havoc became the world’s first real destroyer.

A versatile warfighter rises to power

  Before the First World War, the submarine, a strategic weapon of the future, was developed over a century of warfare, transforming naval warfare from flat to three-dimensional.

  In World War I, 192 combat ships were sunk by submarines, and more than 5,000 merchant ships were sunk by torpedoes fired from submarines. The leap in the number and aggressiveness of submarines has intensified the drilling of anti-submarine capabilities of warships by all countries. As a professional “tool ship” to solve unconventional combat problems, the destroyer became the new equipment carrying platform: sonar, depth charges and other anti-submarine equipment, making the destroyer a veritable multi-faceted naval warfare.

  After World War I, Britain, the United States and France signed the London Naval Treaty in 1930 and 1936 in order to limit the arms race. In addition to limiting the number of ships and tonnage of each country, the treaty also defined destroyers as “surface combatants with a gun caliber of less than 130mm and a displacement of less than 1850 tons”.

  However, the treaty on paper was often not as binding as it should have been in reality. In World War II, the tonnage of medium and large destroyers skyrocketed to a range of 2,000 to 4,000 tons, with speeds of 35 to 40 knots. The most shining star of the World War II ships was the aircraft carrier, which had the right to control the air. The battleship was gradually squeezed out of the historical stage by the aircraft carrier due to its bulky weight and poor versatility, and the “giant ship cannonism” was declared extinct.

  Due to the evolution of warfare, destroyers could torpedo the enemy and escort anti-submarine, and several destroyers with air-to-air weapons could form a fire network, becoming the main force to defend against torpedo planes that posed a major threat to carriers, battleships, cruisers and other large ships.

  Destroyers became the indispensable mainstay of every carrier battle group or fleet. In 1942-1943 alone, 121 destroyers of the Fletcher class were commissioned.

  Many of the destroyers of World War II were impressive. For example, the Japanese destroyer “Yukikaze”, which survived the war almost intact while most of its escorts sank, and the German cruiser “Hipper”, which was rammed to death in an unfavorable situation with one against two. “The British destroyer HMS Firefly, which sank after ramming the German cruiser HIPPEL, and the American destroyer USS RAFI, which was sunk at a very close range of more than 10 meters against the Japanese battleship HIE, whose tonnage far exceeded that of the ship. The destroyer USS Rafi, which was sunk at a close range of more than 10 meters, and the destroyer USS Porter, which mistakenly attacked President Roosevelt’s flagship with live ammunition while escorting him to the Tehran Conference.

The Cold War Trend of “Burke”

  On October 21, 1967, the Israeli Navy’s Eilat was sunk by four Soviet P-15 Styx anti-ship missiles fired by two Egyptian Mosquito-class missile boats. This was the first performance of anti-ship missiles in a real war, marking the official entry of naval warfare into the missile era.

  Anti-ship missiles, like the torpedoes of the early 20th century, have become a new focus of both development and defense for navies because of their low cost and powerful strike capability against ships. Countries have put “missiles on board” on the agenda, and the first choice to carry the missile platform is the fast and flexible destroyer.

  During the Cold War, the confrontation and tug-of-war between the two major military blocs, NATO and Warsaw Pact, continued to drive the renewal of the military industry. The U.S., which believed that nuclear energy ships would replace conventional energy ships on all fronts, embarked on an ambitious “all-nuclear fleet program.

  In the 1960s, the traditional mechanical radar system gradually failed to meet the needs of modern operations, and the U.S. Navy began to develop an “advanced naval missile system. The function of this system is based on computer computing, to achieve multi-target tracking, threat analysis, anti-jamming and interception. The finished product is the “Aegis” combat system (Baseline 0), which integrates the detection and sensing system, fire control system, decision command system, weapon control system, and readiness test system.

  ”The Aegis system was expected to be installed on a nuclear-powered platform, but due to cost issues, the conventionally powered destroyer USS Ticonderoga (renamed a cruiser in 1980) became the first Aegis ship to enter service. “The first Aegis ship to enter service was the Ticonderoga conventional-powered destroyer (renamed cruiser in 1980). As a complement to the Ticonderoga class and a replacement for the older destroyers, the first Aegis-equipped Burke class destroyer was commissioned in August 1991. “In August 1991, the first ship of the Aegis-equipped Burke class was officially commissioned. “In the following 30 years, the Burke class became one of the mainstays of the U.S. Navy.

  On May 17, 1987, the frigate USS Stark was cruising in the Persian Gulf when the radar operator spotted an Iraqi Air Force F-1 Phantom on the screen approaching at high speed and signaled to ask about it. Because of the good relations between the United States and Iraq at this time, the USS Stark did not activate electronic jamming and other devices, but chose to continue cruising.

  The Mirage fighters fired two French-made flying fish anti-ship missiles at the Stark and immediately returned. Officers and men of the USS Stark attempted to intercept the missiles, but it was too late to prevent the two missiles from hitting the ship.

  The incident resulted in 37 U.S. military deaths and 21 injuries, and Saddam Hussein, then president of Iraq, was the first to apologize to the United States, saying that the pilots had mistaken the Stark for an Iranian oil tanker. After several rounds of dialogue, until the outbreak of the Gulf War, the matter has no clear results. The U.S. military in helplessness, quietly increase the development and construction of the “Burke” class efforts.

  ”The same year that the Burke was commissioned, the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War was declared over. “During the service of the Burke class, three major configuration adjustments were made: the full load displacement increased from 8,315 tons in Batch I to 9,800 tons in Batch III, which was not yet in service; from Batch I to the most advanced Batch IIA, in addition to the upgrading of electronic equipment, multiple vertical launch units were added and The Burke-class destroyers have been upgraded from Batch I to Batch IIA.

  ”The slightly shorter hull of the Burke class destroyer allows for more upgrades. It has a modular design for easier troubleshooting and maintenance, and uses radar-absorbing paint to provide stealth capabilities. The ship’s vital compartments are protected by Kevlar reinforcement, and its combat control system is placed in three parts, which greatly reduces the possibility of losing control during combat due to being hit.

  The Burke Batch IIA has 96 vertical launch units, which can fire ASW missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles and other weapons, and is equipped with MK-15 “The IIA can carry two SH-60 Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters, which greatly enhances its anti-submarine capability. Previous batches of ships have also been returned to the factory for modernization and upgrading to maintain combat effectiveness.

  In the 30 years of service since, the Burke class has been the benchmark for destroyers and the target for other naval powers to catch up. After years of catching up, there are now several types of destroyers in the world that can be compared with it, such as the British “Brave” class and the South Korean “Sejong Daewang” class.

Who will take over the baton?

  Although the Burke class is still the most advanced in the world, the U.S. Navy is still planning ahead and started building the Jumbo Walter class destroyer in 2009. The ship’s sci-fi appearance and the integration of a variety of high-tech technologies have become the new focus of the world’s naval forces. “The Jumwalt class has integrated more than ten advanced technologies such as integrated electric propulsion, composite island and aperture, common computing environment, and automatic fire suppression system.

  Although in the construction process, the original ship’s electromagnetic gun and other equipment was removed, but the overall technology content of the “Jumwalt” class is still higher than the “Burke” class a lot. But there are gains and losses, after the test of time, the “Burke” class, the adaptability of the current level of the battlefield is extremely high.

  The future battlefield, integrated with a large number of new technology “Jumbo” class can continue the “Burke” class of high performance, still have to be a question mark. Therefore, the U.S. Navy decided to let the “Burke” class delayed retirement. The “Burke” class of Batch I can be retired only in about 2040.

  ”The sea whale’s back is exposed across the sea, and the sea wave is divided into two places.” I hope that destroyers, like Olympic athletes, will have the opportunity to develop faster, higher, and stronger under the healthy competition between countries on the basis of peace.

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