03:34 GMT19 January 2021
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    The first Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) is not yet in service, and China’s third warship in the class is close to finishing construction. The hybrid warships promise to dramatically expand China’s amphibious assault capabilities.

    On Tuesday, the second of China’s Type 075 LHDs took to the seas for the first time. Photos posted on Sina Weibo showed the 40,000-ton warship - part helicopter carrier, part amphibious assault dock - being escorted by tugboats out of Shanghai’s Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard and into the open seas.

    ​In April, the warship caught fire in the drydock as it neared completion. However, the damage was not serious, and it was launched a few weeks later. A US amphibious assault ship that also caught fire in 2020 was not so lucky: the US Navy announced the decision to scrap the USS Bonhomme Richard late last month, judging that repairs from the four-day fire would roughly equal the cost of building a new ship.

    ​The first Type 075 was recently spotted undergoing sea trials in the South China Sea, having been launched about eight months before the second Type 075.

    In July, Sputnik reported on a proposal by the 708 Institute, a design bureau for China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), suggesting a modified version of the Type 075 with an electromagnetic catapult on the flight deck for launching fixed-wing drones. However, nothing has come of the proposed Type 076 as of yet. Instead, Hudong-Zhonghua is completing a third Type 075, with five more planned in the class, and is building a Type 071 amphibious transport dock for Thailand and a Type 054A frigate for Pakistan.


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