Image of China’s new infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), the Type 19, has begun doing the rounds on social media. The state-owned China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) has incorporated Western design and industrial standards with a markedly new turret on the same chassis as its predecessors.
The IFV, a possible further development of the ZBL-08 wheeled IFV, might begin replacing it soon in areas where it is employed. The induction also comes amidst China’s fervent preparations for a military recourse on Taiwan, in case it has to make a choice.
Some posts on Chinese social media pages on Sina Weibo said the Type 19 has entered service with the 145th Mixed Mechanized Brigade of the 73rd Army of the PLA Eastern Command. This information could not be verified. It appears that the vehicle has entered at least a limited-series production.
WSNBN (@suga_wsnbn), a handle on X (formerly Twitter), while posting the images, said the Type 19 is being deployed as a successor to the Type 08 IFV. The eight-wheeled vehicle has a radically different turret than the Type 08 or Type 09, with the bottom edges not sloping all the way but curving inwards at the joint.
It has a 30-millimeter gun with a coaxial machine gun and a retractable and concealed Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)-firing module that can fire four rockets.
Like the one seen on Rheinmetall’s Lynx IFV, the module will pop up from the encasing to fire the ATGM before being pulled back in. This is a classic anti-armor arrangement for combined arms mission sets that has applications in facing enemy land formations and breakthrough roles.
It has twelve grenade launchers, arranged in two horizontal lines of four on both sides of the turret’s bottom and the remaining four just under the gun’s origin assembly.
It doesn’t seem to have a protruding electro-optical turret, but it can be assumed that the vehicles might have some remaining outfitting. The primary gunner’s aiming and sighting system is concealed beneath the central gun shield.
Two propellers at the back and a wave deflector plate in the front suggest the Type 19 has been envisaged for an amphibious role. The only theater with such a scenario is the Taiwan contingency, where China would launch hordes of armor and tanks from roll-on/roll-over (RoRo) vessels and landing platform docks onto Taiwanese shores.
The shaping of the front chassis and the grill on the right of the driver’s hatch suggests that it is the location of the engine, meaning the rear space is intended to carry troops.
But the most striking feature is the turret frame’s metal shaping, finishing, and welding and the sleek design, suggesting China is catching up with many sophisticated European, American, and Russian industrial processes and craftsmanship.
The turrets on the ZBL-09 and ZBL-08 are essentially box-like, with the basic arrangement of the gun assembly, gun shield, grenade launchers, and sighting systems.
China has long focused on industrial advancement through high-tech manufacturing as a driver of its capital goods export-oriented economy. The aesthetics are on par with the turret designs of the German Puma, Swedish CV90, or the Russian Kurganets-25.
Maybe Used Against India On LAC
The Type 19 could eventually replace the Type 08 (ZBL-08). If confirmed, Type 19 might also be employed in Ladakh since both Type 08 and Type 09 are used here, according to Janes and Global Times reports. Given the relevance of the predominantly land terrain, China has large numbers of mechanized and armor formations.
It makes more tactical sense for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to have an advanced IFV to face an army (Indian) with whom it might fight a classic armor and air-land battle.