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.
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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Traverse bodies of open water under own power with / without preparation.
✓Anti-Aircraft / Airspace Denial
Base model or variant can be used to search, track, and neutralize airborne elements at range.
✓Anti-Tank / Anti-Armor
Base model or variant can be used to track, engage, and defeat armored enemy elements at range.
✓Fire Support / Assault / Breaching
Support allied forces through direct / in-direct fire, assault forward positions, and / or breach fortified areas of the battlefield.
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.
26.2 ft 8 m
9.8 ft 3 m
6.9 ft 2.1 m
44,092 lb 20,000 kg
22.0 tons MEDIUM
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base NORINCO ZBL-08 (Type 08) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
1 x Deutz BF6M1015C diesel-fueled engine developing 440 horsepower to conventional 8x8 wheeled arrangement.
Variable, dependent upon mission role/equipment but can include the following:
1 x 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun (MMG).
1 x 12.7mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) Heavy Machine Gun (HMG).
6 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers.
1 x 30mm Autocannon in Remote Weapons Station (RWS).
1 x 35mm KDG Gatling gun system.
1 x 105mm Royal Ordnance L7 turreted main gun.
1 x 120mm heavy field mortar.
1 x 122mm field howitzer.
1 x 155mm field howitzer.
2 x HJ-73 Anti-Tank Guided-Missile (ATGM) launcher.
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Dependent upon armament fit.
ZBL-08 - Base Series Designation.
Type 08 - Alternative designation.
ZBL-08 IFV - Infantry Fighting Vehicle form with turreted 30mm autocannon and HJ-73C ATGM support.
ZBL-8 APC - Armored Personnel Carrier; expanded troop-carrying support; 1 x 12.7mm HMG armament.
ZBL-08 ARV - Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle form; 30mm autocannon armament.
ZBL-08 CV - Command Vehicle variant; extra communications equipment fitted.
ZBL-08 COM - Communications Vehicle; mission-specific equipment carried.
ZBL-08 MEDEVAC - Battlefield ambulance form.
ZBL-08 NBC - Environmentally-protected reconnaissance vehicle variant.
ZBL-08 EW - Electronic Warfare variant.
ZBL-08 AB - Assault Breacher vehicle; counter-mine equipment.
ZBL-08 AVLB - Vehicle-launching bridge carrier.
ZBL-08 ARV - Armored Recovery Vehicle variant.
ZBL-08 ACV - Armored Cargo Vehicle variant.
ZBL-08 ENG - Engineering vehicle form; with dozer blade and excavator arm.
PLL-05 - 120mm mortar carrier.
PLL-09 - 122mm or 155mm Self-Propelled Artillery (SPA) model.
Type 09 - Anti-Aircraft (AA) Reconnaissance Vehicle; 35mm Gatling-style autocannon.
ZTL-11 - Wheeled assault gun mounting turreted 105mm tank gun.
VS27 - Armored Rescue Vehicle variant.
VE36 - Dedicated reconnaissance vehicle.
CS/SA5 - Anti-Aircraft (AA) variant; Gatling-style gun with radar direction.
CS/AA5 - Fitting Remote Weapon Station (RWS) on roof armed with 40mm autocannon.
VN-1 - ZBL-08 IFV export model; 30mm autocannon-equipped RWS on hull roof; ATGM support.
SWS-2 - Air Defense export model based on the VN-1 chassis; 35mm autocannon with 4 x Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) for airspace denial.
ST-1 - ZTL-11 assault gun export model.
SH-11 - Export model covering 155mm SPA variant.
AFT-10 - Anti-Tank Guided-Missile (ATGM) carrier; model of 2018.
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