Difference Between Frigate and Destroyer

Frigate vs Destroyer

To someone, not from an armed forces background, it can be too much to differentiate between a frigate, a destroyer, and a corvette. In fact, to someone who is a total outsider, all three ships look the same with minor differences here and there. However, there are many differences between a frigate and a destroyer that can mean a lot to the navy of a country. This article attempts to highlight these differences to enable readers to realize the importance of these ships for a navy.


Frigate is a large ship (medium sized with reference to destroyers) that performs the role of warship as it can be an antisubmarine ship or an antiaircraft ship. It is a combatant that is heavy (2000-5000 tones) and can carry out many types of missions in a high threat sea environment. A frigate is capable of providing protection to other ships in a fleet. In a convoy, a frigate performs the role of a flagship.


In modern times, destroyers are the largest and the heaviest surface combatants ruling the seas of the world. They are extremely large (5000-10000 tones) and cost in excess of $700 million per piece. It is a warship that has the capabilities to protect other ships of a navy as well as its merchant ships. It is packed with latest sensors and modern warfare, to operate in a high threat environment. There are radars to pick up enemy missiles and combat systems that can put to shame the entire army capabilities of a small nation. Guided missiles are the chief attack features of destroyers though there are also antisubmarine and antiaircraft guns deployed on a destroyer.

Frigate vs Destroyer

• Destroyers are much larger and heavier than frigates.

• Officers deployed on frigates are younger than ones deployed on destroyers.

• Destroyers have much advanced defense and attack capabilities than frigates.

• Destroyers can cost much more than frigates.

• FF is the abbreviation used for frigates whereas DD’s and DDG’s are the abbreviations used for destroyers depending upon their attack systems whether they are guided missile destroyers or not.

• While the main function of a frigate is as a convoy or fleet protector, a destroyer is mainly a combatant with guided missiles and antiaircraft and antisubmarine guns.