Today’s unconventional battlefield has lead to the adoption of some unusual looking tools to get the job done. Officially named the improved spork, this battlefield oddity simplifies the operation of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle’s arm, allowing Marines to perform route clearance missions with more ease.
“The original spork was much like a fork on a table,” said Al Shaw, MRAP assistant program manager, Buffalo vehicle platform team. “It had five tongs, faced upward, could scoop suspected ordnance and the interrogation arm moved vertically.”
The ability to move suspected objects with more flexibility and control was in high demand on the battlefield. “Marines wanted a capability that would allow them to grab items and have greater movement, so we developed that. The difference is like night and day,” said Shaw.
The arm now looks more like a claw, with indentations in the tongs, giving operators a greater ability to grip sus-pected ordnance. A more user-friendly control box allows operators to just tilt the attachment vertically and rotate it 360 degrees.
The arm can be upgraded with a kit containing new hardware. Installation is simple and quick, minimizing time and effort focused on the upgrade, allowing Marines to maintain the high operational tempo of today’s battlefield.
“Fielding the new spork began with Operation Enduring Freedom,” said Shaw. New and reset MRAPs are being delivered in August with the improved spork already installed. Training MRAPs will get the improved spork on a one-for-one exchange as new claws are delivered. Some stateside units already have the spork installed.