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Caterpillar RTCH

Rough terrain container handler

Caterpillar RTCH

The Caterpillar rough terrain container handler is based on a modified commercial design

Country of origin United States
Entered service 1981
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 53 t
Length 10.7 m
Width 3.55 m
Height 4.12 m
Lifting capacity 22.6 t
Engine Caterpillar 3408 diesel
Engine power 393 hp
Maximum road speed 40 km/h
Range ?
Gradient 30%
Side slope ?
Vertical step ?
Trench ?
Fording 1.5 m


   The Caterpillar Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) is used for handling standard 20 ft and 40 ft ISO containers with a maximum weight of up to 22.6 t. This container handler is used by supply, ammunition and transportation units. In 1978 Caterpillar won the US Army competition against three other rivals and was awarded a contract for initial production. Production of this RTCH commenced in 1981 and ceased in 1985. A total of 320 rough terrain container handlers were delivered to the US Army. A small number of these material handling vehicles was acquired by the US Air Force and US Marine Corps operated over 120 of these vehicles. The US Marine Corps container handlers were delivered in 1988 and were slightly different than the US Army machines.

   Basically the RTCH it is a modified commercial Caterpillar 988B wheeled loader without lifting arms and bucket, mated with a forklift mast. Later production models were based on the Caterpillar 988F wheeled loader. In 1997 additional 43 container handlers were delivered. All of these were based on the 988F model.

   The Caterpillar RTCH can stack and unstack containers two high. It can also place them on trucks or rail. It is worth mentioning that containers are the backbone of the US military logistics.

   There was a variant of this container handler, fitted a low-mount fork assembly. It could lift half-height containers.

   Vehicle is operated by a single operator. This machine carries no armament as it is intended to operate in supply units.

   This rough terrain container handler is powered by a Caterpillar 3408 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 393 hp. Later production models based on the 988F wheeled loader are powered by a Caterpillar 3408E HEUI turbocharged diesel engine, developing 430 hp. Vehicle has articulated steering and a full-time all wheel drive. It is designed to operate over rough terrain and in water up to 1.5 m deep. This allows the vehicle to operate at beaches.

   By 2005 all US Army and Marine rough terrain container handlers were refurbished by Caterpillar in order to extend their operational service life.

   In 2000 the US Army awarded Kalmar company a contract for up to 500 new Kalmar RT240 rough terrain container handlers to replace the ageing fleet of Caterpillar vehicles.




Caterpillar RTCH

Caterpillar RTCH

Caterpillar RTCH

Caterpillar RTCH


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