Posted in March on Chinese online forums, this image shows a Norinco PLL-09 self-propelled gun painted in PLA Marine Corps camouflage and being driven on a public road at an undisclosed location. Source: Via CJDBY
An image posted on Chinese online forums suggests that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) may be equipping its marine corps with the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) 8x8 PLL-09 self-propelled gun.
Published on 24 March, the image shows the armoured vehicle, which is currently in service with the light mechanised units of the PLA Ground Force (PLAGF), painted in marine corps camouflage and being driven on a public road at an undisclosed location.
The PLL-09 is armoured to the same standard as the 8x8 ZBL-09 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), but is equipped with a modified version of the Type 96 122 mm gun, which can be elevated from -3° to +70°, thus giving the vehicle the ability to provide direct and indirect fire support.
The maximum range of the gun, which is thought to be around 18 km with standard ammunition, can be extended to 22 km with base-bleed ammunition, according to Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles.
The basic layout of the hull is based on that of the ZBL-09. However, the turret is likely to be protected to a lesser extent, especially if an amphibious capability is necessary. The troop compartment at the rear is used to accommodate ammunition and the weapon crew. The driver remains at the front left of the hull and at the rear of the hull is an enclosed turret, which includes the main armament.
The latest developments come after Chinese President Xi Jinping stated at the opening of the 19th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on 18 October 2017 that his country was planning to transform the PLA into a "state-of-the-art, world-class military" by the middle of this century.