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Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH)

The Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH, pronounced 'wretch') provides the capability to handle standard ANSI/ISO cargo containers that are increasingly the backbone of military logistics. RTCH has had two distinct models during its life cycle:

  • RTCH Caterpillar NSN 3930-01-082-3758, Operators Manual TM 10-3930-641-10
  • RTCH Kalmar RT240 NSN 3930-01-473-3998, Operators Manual TM 10-3930-675-10

Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Caterpillar

The Truck, Container Handler, Rough Terrain, 50,000 LBS Capacity, Diesel Engine Driven (DED), with Tophandlers was produced by Caterpillar Tractor Company, Peoria, IL, as a military unique integration of commercial components. RTCH was initially contracted in 1978 with 320 vehicles fielded from late 1981 to early 1985.

The RTCH provides the capability of handling the 8-foot wide 20- and 40-foot long containers with gross weights of up to 50,000 pounds. It is a rough terrain vehicle designed for operating on soft soil conditions such as unprepared beaches. The RTCH has four-wheel drive and is capable of operating in up to 5 feet of sea water.

Top-handlers, 20 or 40 feet long, are used in conjunction with the RTCH to handle ANSI/ISO containers. These top handlers are placed on the forks of the RTCH to allow for handling different lengths of ANSI/ISO containers. If needed, it could also handle longer containers fitted with ANSI/ISO fittings at 40-foot locations along the top of the container. RTCH also comes with forks, used to load and unload flatbed trailers and rail cars, or move and stack materials.

Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar

The RT-240 Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) is the successor to the Caterpillar RTCH, produced by Kalmar RT Center LLC, San Antonio, TX. The second RTCH was conceived in the late 1990s by the U.S. Army Transportation School in response to the need for the Army to take advantage of worldwide standardization of shipping containers. Kalmar Industries was awarded the contract to produce the RTCH in April 2000 based on their RT-240 "Reach Stacker."

By December 2004 the Army fielded 346 Kalmar RTCH systems procured under the initial contract. At that time, the Marine Corps teamed with the Army to procure an initial 25 of their own RTCH systems, with an anticipated total of 105 systems for the USMC.

The Kalmar RT-240 Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) is powered by a six-cylinder turbocharged diesel Cummins QSM 11 engine, 400 hp using JP-8 fuel. The Kalmar RTCH weighs 118,000 lbs and can move containers up to 53,000 lbs (24,040 kg). The Kalmar RTCH has a movable operators cab and folding boom assembly to reduce transport height so it can be transported by air (C-5 or C-17 drive-on), sea, rail or road without any disassembly. It operates on beaches, rough terrain and unimproved surfaces where it can stack containers three high and has the reach capability to pick up a container in the second row. Like the Caterpillar RTCH, the Kalmar RTCH weighs 118,000 lbs, has four-wheel drive and is capable of operating in up to five feet of sea water.

Manuals for the Caterpillar RTCH are numbered TM 10-3930-641-xx where the xx represents the maintenance level. Manuals for the Kalmar RTCH are numbered TM 10-3930-675-xx. See also FM 55-80 Army Container Operations.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar, 2002. Photo courtesy Kalmar RT Center, San Antonio, TX.
Caterpillar Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH).
Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar, operated by Seabee EO2 Michael Rhoades, relocates a 40 foot container, Camp Moreell, Kuwait, May 2006.
Marines at Camp Fox,  Al Jahrah, Kuwait, use a 50K RTCH (Rough Terrain Cargo Handler) to move containers to a port for loading onto Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM, 15 Aug 2003
RT-240 Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar
An M7 Priest 105mm self-propelled gun and a jeep stop beside American casualty after unsuccessful attempt to storm Jap pillboxes, Saipan, 20 June 1944.  27th Infantry Division.

Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) Photo Gallery

Caterpillar Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH)
Caterpillar Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH).

Caterpillar Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH), Old Muthana Air Base, Baghdad, Iraq, December 2007.  This unit has no fork assembly installed
Caterpillar Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH), Old Muthana Air Base, Baghdad, Iraq, December 2007. This unit has no fork assembly installed.

Caterpillar USMC Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH), Camp Fox, Kuwait, 15 August 2003
Caterpillar USMC Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH), Camp Fox, Kuwait, 15 August 2003.

Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar, operated by Seabee EO2 Michael Rhoades, relocates a 40 foot container, Camp Moreell, Kuwait, May 2006
Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar, operated by Seabee EO2 Michael Rhoades, relocates a 40 foot container, Camp Moreell, Kuwait, May 2006.

US Navy Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar, from Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Group Delta, Fort Eustis, VA, 5 April 2006
US Navy Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar, from Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Group Delta, Fort Eustis, VA, 5 April 2006.

Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) RT240, 53,000 LB Capacity, 4x4.  Image from the cover of TM 10-3930-675-10 (Operators Manual)
Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) RT240, 53,000 LB Capacity, 4x4. Image from the cover of TM 10-3930-675-10 (Operators Manual).

Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar, 2002. Photo:  Kalmar RT Center,  San Antonio, TX
Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) by Kalmar, 2002. Photo: Kalmar RT Center, San Antonio, TX.

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