The modern Chinese land army utilizes a vast collection of armored vehicles, both wheeled and tracked. In the former category, this exists as the PLL-09 - known to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) as the "Type 09". The vehicle is based in the proven chassis and running gear of the multi-faceted ZBL-08 (Type 08) 8x8 wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) with the primary difference being a heavier-duty, traversing turret fitting a powerful 122mm howitzer. The same vehicle can also sport a 155mm howitzer gun for even more improved fire support capability at-range.
Like other vehicles in the family, the PLL-09 can traverse cross-country easily enough thanks to its 8x8 wheeled configuration, oversized run-flat road wheels, and high ground clearance. The crew of three is modestly protected in light-to-medium armor which aids against small arms fire and shell splinters. Since the vehicle is not intended for frontline, direct line-of-sight combat, this is acceptable. The real value in the system is in laying down fire through in-direct, non-line-of-sight action behind the lines.
Much of the form and function of the original ZBL-08 is retained. A diesel-fueled engine powers the type to speeds of 100kmh out to a range of 800 kilometers. A semi-automatic transmission system is mated to the engine. An amphibious quality is built into the truck, allowing it to traverse water sources with little preparation.
The howitzer armament sits in the frontal face of the 360-degree traversing turret which encloses the gunnery crew and commander. The gun is fully-stabilized and comes complete with an integral recoil mechanism and multi-slotted muzzle brake. Smoke grenade dischargers are seen along the turret sides which help the vehicle provide its own smoke to screen actions against enemy eyes. An optional 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) can be affixed to the turret roof to protect against low-flying aircraft.
The PLL-09 is a common sight in PLA army actions, namely field exercises intended to train crews and assist in propaganda measures.
Manufacturing NORINCO (China NORth INdustries Corporation) - China
Production 550 Units
- Fire Support / Assault / Breaching
26.25 ft (8 m)
9.84 ft (3 m)
6.89 ft (2.1 m)
28 tons (25,000 kg; 55,116 lb)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the NORINCO PLL-09 (Type 09) production model)
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