Local residents mistook the smoke generator for a fire
Off the coast of the South China Sea, a military vessel engulfed in thick smoke was spotted, as reported by Sarbaz.kz.
However, it wasn't a fire. The Chinese military was testing a new defense system against adversaries. Coastal residents in the South China Sea region reported a military ship on fire to local media. The incident involved a new amphibious transport dock known as Longhu Shan (980) of the Chinese Navy, Type 071. However, it turned out that there was no fire on the ship. Navy representatives stated it was a test of a new defense system against enemy missiles and kamikaze drones.
During the trials, experiments were conducted with smoke generators designed to conceal the ship in a way that airborne threats could not detect or neutralize it.
Interestingly, this is a similar method that Russians recently decided to use on a large scale. Smoke generators are activated, for instance, when alerts are issued regarding airstrikes on the Crimean Bridge, and also to protect various port facilities in Crimea where military ships are stationed. The TDA-3 smoke generators likely come from Russia's 28th brigade of nuclear, biological, and chemical protection forces.
All indications suggest that China also sees potential in this technique, given its suitability for ship protection. However, in the case of the Chinese trials, experts question their success. In the published video, it's evident that the smoke covered only certain parts of the ship, which in the event of kamikaze drone attacks, such a solution might not work at all.
Type 071 universal landing ships are a class of universal landing helicopter docks in service with the Chinese and Thai navies. The vessel can transport up to 800 troops, 4 helicopters, and about 20 armored vehicles. Landing operations are conducted using hovercraft or amphibious vehicles.