NORINCO ZBL-08 (Type 08)
8x8 Wheeled Modular Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
The NORINCO ZBL-08 series 8x8 vehicle is a highly modular system capable of being utilized for a plethora of battlefield roles.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The modern battlefield is as mobile as ever and Chinese military forces have done well to adopt a complete family line of capable, wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) with modularity at the heart of their design. Case-in-point is the NORINCO (China NORth INdustries COrporation) "ZBL-08", a multi-faceted, "multi-mission" platform suitable for fulfilling a variety of roles. The ZBL-08, also known as the "Type 08" in sources, is in active service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and Marine forces of China as well as a few other global operators to day (2019).
The base role for the ZBL-08 is as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). This version mounts a complete traversing powered turret armed through a 30mm autocannon, machine gun, Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) support (HJ-73C series missiles), and smoke grenade dischargers. This provides the troop transport with the ability to support foot soldiers as they advance in hostile territory. The Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) form is more modestly-armed through a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) and can carry more troops. More progressive models feature more aggressive armament fits.
The glacis plate has the usual angling for basic ballistics protection while the hull sides, rear and roof line are all slabs. The driver sits at front-left with the powerpack to his right side (the engine exhausts along the right side). The commander's position is directly behind the driver which is typical for this vehicle type. Gun ports along the hull side walls and rear hull facing provide the occupants with the ability to engage outdoor elements with their personal small arms from under the protection of the vehicle. At the rear facing of the hull is a hinged, rectangular entry-exit door for relatively easy embarking/disembarking of passengers. The chassis is supported through a fully-functional offroad suspension system complete with oversized "run-flat" road wheels. An amphibious capability is built into the design with propulsion made possible by way of two waterjets featured at the lower rear corners of the hull.
The hull roof can support variable armament/turret fits to suit the mission role as well as customer need. This includes a fully-fledged tank-killing 105mm Royal Ordnance L7 rifled main gun along with a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) and smoke grenade dischargers. Alternative fits revolved around basic fire suppression (machine guns, including Remote Weapons Station support), mortar fire support (120mm in caliber), Self-Propelled Artillery (variable field howitzer weapons supported), Anti-Aircraft (AA) / airspace denial (35mm autocannons as well as Air-to-Air Missiles), and Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) weapons (for accurate ranged tank-killing). Non-direct combat forms include an engineering and MEDEVAC vehicle as well as a dedicated Command Post (CP), each with additional equipment to suit the battlefield role.
Beyond Chinese military forces, the ZBL-08 is known to be in use with the nations of Argentina, Thailand, and Venezuela.