Modern cruisers measure from 162 to 243 m (533 to 796 ft) in length, travel about 30 knots, and have an average crew of 550.
The mission of modern cruisers is to destroy enemy surface ships, submarines, aircraft, and missiles. They are equipped with 5-inch guns, Harpoon and Tomahawk guided missiles, antisubmarine warfare helicopters, and torpedoes. Many cruisers now have the Aegis surface-to-air missile system, a highly sophisticated and capable weapons system.
The torpedo cruiser (known in the Royal Navy as the torpedo gunboat) was a smaller unarmored cruiser, which emerged in the 1880s-1890s. These ships could reach speeds up to 20 knots (37 km/h) and were armed with medium to small calibre guns as well as torpedoes. These ships were tasked with guard and reconnaissance duties, to repeat signals and all other fleet duties for which smaller vessels were suited. These ships could also function as flagships of torpedo boat flotillas. After the 1900s, these ships were usually traded for faster ships with better sea going qualities.