Joined the People’s Liberation Army since 2009, the PLL-09 self-propelled howitzer is considered one of Beijing’s most mobile artillery weapons.
Accordingly, the PLL-09 122mm is currently one of the most widely used self-propelled howitzers by the PLA. It is also used by the Chinese Marines.
The vehicle is derived from the ZBL-09 family, to provide indirect fire support for rapid deployment brigades. These units were developed in concept just after US Stryker brigades. They are equipped only with with lightly armored and all-wheeled, highly mobile 8×8 vehicles.
There are about 550 in service. This vehicle is fast, shares many components with the ZBL-09, ensuring easier support and maintenance on the field, while its unit can keep pace with the fastest MBT-equipped Chinese PLA Tank brigades, or for fast advanced reconnaissance columns deep into enemy territory.
Based on the ZBL-09 Snow Leopard 8×8 chassis, the PLL-09 is armed with a version of the 122 mm PL96, or Type 96 howitzer, which is a Chinese version of the Soviet D-30 towed howitzer. It is a proven design, used on a number of self-propelled artillery system from China and all around the world.
The PLL-09 is fitted with computerized fire control system with digital ballistic computer. It is most likely to use digital battlefield management system. Vehicle has a welded steel hull ant turret. The front arc withstands 12.7 mm armor piercing rounds. All-round protection is against 7.62 mm armor-piercing rounds, except that the rear end of the vehicle and turret roof protect only against 7.62 mm ball rounds. Vehicle is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.
The PLL-09 SPH is powered by a Deutz BF6M1015C turbocharged diesel engine, developing 440 hp. It is a German engine, produced in China under license. Engine is located at the front. Vehicle is fitted with a tyre pressure regulation system for improved mobility over difficult terrain. This self-propelled howitzer is fully amphibious. On water it is propelled by two waterjets.