At a time when U.S. Navy combatant ship programs—which take decades to develop—remain essentially the same as they were during the Cold War, the rest of the world's major navies are now seeing their own development efforts reaching fruition in the completion of a host of new warship classes. Although none of these programs approaches the complexity and potential capabilities of classes still being built in the United States, they also are far less expensive to procure and operate per unit cost while still able to perform their missions far better than their immediate predecessors. As the U.S. Navy was fruitlessly pursuing development of the 15,000-ton, single-purpose Zumwalt (DD-21)-class "destroyer," other fleets generally have confined their efforts to the design and construction of affordable, general-purpose major surface combatants with displacements between 5,000 and 9,000 tons full load.
World Navies in Review
By A. D. Baker III