Staff Writer (Updated: 2/28/2016):
The base ZBD is a 26-ton vehicle with a conventional track-and-wheel system powered by an internal diesel engine installation. Maximum road speeds reach 40 mph (65 kmh) with an operational range listed at 500 km - key qualities to consider when estimating the capabilities of a modern armored vehicle. The track arrangement sees six double-tired road wheels to a hull side, each well-spaced with the rear-most pair decidedly aft of the others. The drive sprocket is in the front of the hull with the track idler at the rear. The ZDB is suspended on a conventional torsion bar suspension system for good cross-country traverse qualities. Outwardly, there is no mistaking the Soviet-era influence in the Z-family of Chinese military vehicles - their appearance akin to the Soviet-Russian BMP amphibious light tank series of which several generations remain in active service the world over. The glacis plate is very well-sloped and leads up to the flat hull roof line. The rear of the hull is squared-off to accommodate the large electrically powered entry/exit door which doubles as a loading ramp for infantry. The hull sides are completely vertical, offering only basic ballistics protection against small arms fire and artillery spray. Depending on the variant type, armament is housed in a fully-powered, 360-degree traversing turret situated just aft of center mass. The driver is situated at the front left of the hull with the fighting compartment to his rear. The gunnery crew and vehicle commander reside in the turret. This leaves the powerpack to be seated in a compartment along the front right side of the hull next to the driver's position.