Armed Forces of Malta

Armed Forces of Malta
Armed Forces of Malta
Forzi Armati ta' Malta
Founded 19 April 1973
Service branches Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Malta
Headquarters Luqa
Commander-in-Chief George Abela
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi
Chief of staff Brigadier Martin G. Xuereb
Military age 18 years of age
Conscription voluntary
Available for
military service
males age 15-49: 99,107 (2002 est.), age 15–49
Fit for
military service
males age 15-49: 78,909 (2002 est.), age 15–49
Active personnel 2,140 (2002 est.)
Budget $60 million (2000 est.)
Percent of GDP 1.7% (2000)
Related articles
History Military history of Malta
Structure of the Armed Forces of Malta

The Armed Forces of Malta is the name given to the combined armed services of Malta. The AFM is a brigade sized organisation consisting of a headquarters and three separate battalions, with minimal air and naval forces.



Headquarters, AFM

HQ AFM is the main command centre for the Armed Forces of Malta, and is divided into four main areas.

  • Operations & Training Branch
  • Administration & Personnel Branch
  • Logistics Branch
  • European Union Security Defence Policy Branch
  • Public Information Cell
  • Intelligence Cell
  • Legal Office
  • Audit & inspectorate Branch

1st Regiment, AFM

1st Regiment is Malta's infantry unit, and has primary responsibility for the territorial defence of the country. It is divided into three rifle companies, a support company and a headquarters company.

  • A Company - is responsible for airport security in the controlled access role by providing security guards at terminal access points/airfield perimeter gates leading to restricted areas and by conducting patrol in these said areas. They also enforce access passes and visitor movement control assisted with CCTV surveillance and is based at Malta International Airport.
  • B Company - is responsible for security duties in various locations. It carries out land patrols and conducts vehicle checkpoints for traffic contraventions, illegal immigrants' identification and apprehension, and anti-narcotics' searches. It liaises very closely with the Police in relation to many of their activities.In addition, it is an internal security company, tasked with guarding high-profile/sensitive government establishments, and is based at Hal-Far.
  • C (Special Duties) Company - is the AFM's Quick Reaction Force, for high-risk operations both internally and as part of the European Union. It also serves as an infantry training unit for the AFM and is based at Hal-Far.
  • Air Defence & Support Company - provides Malta's primary air defence capability, armed with the Bofors 40mm L70 (currently being phased out)and ZPU-4 14.5mm AAMG as well as 81mm mortars, Type 69 RPG's and Browning .50 HMGs for ground support. Its primary role is the light anti-aircraft defence of Luqa Airport and other vulnerable points on the Maltese islands. Gunnery training and battery shooting practices are regularly held at Pembroke Ranges, St. Andrews. This sub-unit runs a training school conducting Junior Non-commissioned Officers Leadership development courses, Infantry trade courses, Ceremonial Saluting guns courses and AAMG courses. All the AFM ceremonial activities that involve the firing of the saluting guns are performed by this sub-unit. This sub-unit is also responsible for the administration and training of the Emergency Volunteer Reserve Force.
  • HQ Company - exercises command and control over the other sub-units.
  • Battle Honour
    • Egypt 1882

Air Wing, AFM

has responsibility for the security of Maltese airspace, maritime patrol, Search and Rescue, and provision of military assistance to other Government departments. The current air assets include:

Aircraft Photo Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Britten-Norman BN-2B-26 Islander  United Kingdom fixed-wing aircraft BN-2B-26 2
Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 Maltese Air Force Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 JPTA.jpg  United Kingdom series 120 fixed-wing aircraft Series 120 4 ex-RAF
Aérospatiale SA 316B Alouette III Maltese Air Force Alouette JPTA.jpg  France helicopters SA316B 3 ex-Libyan Air Force
Agusta-Bell Helicopter AB 212  Italy helicopter AB-212 2 helicopters operated with mixed crews on SAR duties by an Italian Technical Assistance Mission.
Beechcraft B200 King Air  United States fixed-wing aircraft B200 1 (1) Fitted with Telephonics Corporation RDR-1700B Maritime Surveillance and Imaging Radar [1]. One will enter service in February 2011 [2].

Maritime Squadron

The maritime squadron has a wide range of duties, including coast guard, customs, marine police, fisheries protection and search and rescue. Current maritime assets:

In Service Class Fleet # Builder/Origins [3] Year entered service Notes
1 "Modified" Diciotti class Offshore patrol vessel (P 61) Fincantieri S.p.a. at Muggiano Shipyard  Italy 2005 based on Corps of the Port Captaincies - Coast Guard vessesls
2 Protector Class Coastal Patrol Boat (P 51, P 52) Bollinger Shipyards Incorporated,  United States 2002 based on Damen Stan 2600
1 Bremse Class Inshore Patrol Boat (Bremse Type KB123) (P 32)  Germany 1992 built for ex-East German Navy 1971-1972[4]
2 Swift Class Inshore Patrol Boat (P 23, P 24) Sewart Seacraft Limited  United States 1971 ex-US Coast Guard built in 1967 USA C6823 and USA C6824[4]
2 (CP800 Vittoria Melita Class Search and Rescue Launch (Melita I, Melita II) Cantiere Navale Vittoria, Adria  Italy 1998
1 Fast-Interceptor Craft Rigid-hulled inflatable boat (P 01) FB Design Srl  Italy 2006 acquired in 2003
4 P21 Class Inshore Patrol Crafts P 21, P22, P23, P24 Austal, Perth  Australia[5] 2010 ordered in Feb 2009. Two vessels were launched on October 6 2009.[4] The four vessels (P21, P22, P23 and P24) were delivered in February 2010.

The European commission has voted 110 million euros in funds for the AFM. The government has purchased 4 new patrol vessels to upgrade and strengthen the maritime squadron as well as ordered a new offshore maritime surveillance aircraft.

Ex-AFM Ships

A list of vessels since retired by the AFM [6]:

Fleet # Type Notes
P25, P26 patrol ships
C26 patrol craft
P29, P30, P31 patrol boats Ex-East German Kondor I Class 1968-1969
P33 (Bremse Class)
P34, P35
P36, P37
P38, P39
LCVP Mk7 landing craft Ex-USN

Rapid Deployment Team (R.D.T)

The Rapid Deployment Team is the unit tasked to perform M.L.E. (Maritime Law Enforcement) operations and counter terrorism interventions at sea. Its members operate the Fast-Interceptor Craft P 01.

3rd Regiment, AFM

3 Regiment is the AFM's main support unit, and consists of three operational sections.

  • Engineer Squadron - this provides the engineering support.
  • Ammunition and Explosives Company - is responsible for the storage and control of all types of ammunition held by the AFM as well as for the storage and control of blasting material used by civilian contractors for quarry blasting, etc. It includes the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) section which is responsible for the detection and disposal of bombs and other explosive devices. It is also responsible for the inspection of mail at major post offices, inspection of baggage and aircraft at the airport and security checks at the house of Representative
  • Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Squadron - is responsible for the repair and maintenance of all AFM vehicles, generators, plant and other service equipment.

4th Regiment, AFM

Established with the AFM review of Oct 30th, 2006, it includes:

  • The AFM Band - takes part in official engagements, performing at ceremonial parades, band displays and other band programmes in Malta and Gozo. Besides their duties as bandsmen, the personnel also perform all military duties.
  • Revenue Security Corps - assists Government in the prevention of smuggling, the protection of revenue and, when necessary, the investigation of contraventions relating to fiscal and monetary laws. The RSC is also responsible for the security and cash escort duties of commercial banks.
  • HQ Company
  • C3I Company

Emergency Volunteer Reserve Force

In addition to the regular forces, there is also the Emergency Volunteer Reserve Force, which consists of part-time volunteers to support the regulars at Air Defence & Support Company (ADSC), 1 Regiment AFM.

Italian Military Mission Malta

The presence of the Italian Military Mission (IMM) in Malta has taken form in the shape of technical assistance spread over three periods of time. Firstly, between 1973 and 1979, then between 1981 and July 1988, and lastly between July 1988 to date.

IMM personnel resources in Malta total to 12 Officers and 35 NCOs from the three Service branches of the Italian Armed Forces. It is also equipped with two AB 212 helicopters, 15 heavy plant vehicles, 60 light all-purpose utility vehicles, radio telecommunications, and weapons.


  • Gunner
  • Lance Bombardier
  • Bombardier
  • Sergeant
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Warrant Officer Class 2
  • Warrant Officer Class 1
  • Second Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Colonel
  • Brigadier

Brief history

The AFM was formed upon Malta becoming a republic in 1974, when 1 Regiment Royal Malta Artillery was renamed as 1 Regiment, AFM. This initially continued the artillery role, with 2 Regiment formed as an engineers unit. In 1980, 1 Regiment became a mixed unit, with infantry, aircraft and maritime responsibilities, the artillery element being transferred to 2 Regiment. In 1992, there was a major re-organisation, which led to the formation of 3 Regiment and the current structure.

The AFM wears a single cap badge, based on that of the Royal Malta Artillery, which consists of a gun, similar to that worn by the Royal Artillery but without the crown, on top of a Maltese Cross, with the motto "Tutela Bellicæ Virtutis" underneath.

King's Own Malta Regiment

The King's Own Malta Regiment was a territorial infantry regiment on the British Army colonial list prior to Malta's independence. It was formed in 1801 as the "Regiment of Maltese Militia", existing only until the following year. It was reformed as the "Maltese Militia" by Sir Adrian Dingli in 1852 before disbanding again in 1857. It was raised again, this time as the "Royal Malta Regiment of Militia" in 1889; this regiment was considered to be the successor to the "Maltese Chasseurs" of the early 19th century. The regiment was renamed the "King's Own Royal Malta Regiment of Militia" in 1903, and was disbanded in 1921. The regiment was raised for a fourth time in 1931 as the "King's Own Malta Regiment". Initially on the British Establishment, in 1951 it was transferred to the Malta Territorial Force before becoming part of the Malta Land Force on Malta's independence in 1970. The regiment was disbanded in 1972.

  • 1st Battalion, KOMR [1897–1921, 1931–1946, 1952–1972]
  • 2nd Battalion, KOMR [1897–1921, 1940–1946, 1952–1972]
  • 3rd Battalion, KOMR [1940–1945]
  • 10th Battalion, KOMR (Territorial) [1942–1943]

Battle Honours

  • 1800 (awarded for services of the Maltese Chasseurs)
  • Second World War: Malta 1940–1942


Make Origin Type
Bofors 40 mm gun  Sweden Anti-Aircraft
ZPU-4 14.5 mm SPAAG  Soviet Union Anti-Aircraft Gun
81mm mortar  United Kingdom Mortar


Make Origin Type
Maruti Gypsy  India 4x4
M151 MUTT  United States 4x4
Land Rover Wolf  United Kingdom 4x4
Land Rover Defender  United Kingdom 4x4
Land Rover Series  United Kingdom 4x4
Range Rover  United Kingdom 4x4
Mitsubishi Triton  Japan Pickup truck
Iveco LMV Italy Italy Tactical SUV
Iveco VM 90 Italy Italy Tactical SUV
[ACM 80/90|Iveco ACM 80/90] Italy Italy Large Tactical SUV
Humber Pig  United Kingdom Armoured personnel carrier
[of Yamaha motorcycles|Yamaha Motorcycles]  Japan Motorcycle
Moto Guzzi 1000 Convert Italy Italy Motorcycle
Renault 25  France Staff Car
Jeep Wagoneer  United States Utility vehicle
[6605 TM69|Fiat TM 69] Italy Italy Multi-role 6x6 truck
Bedford TK  United Kingdom Truck
Bedford TM  United Kingdom Truck
Bedford RL  United Kingdom Truck
[Veicoli Industriali#Veicoli militari.2C speciali e da cantiere dopo il 1950|Fiat CM-52] Italy Italy Truck
Ford Cargo  United States Truck
M35 2½ ton cargo truck  United States Truck
Fiat Ducato Italy Italy Van

Uniform and Personal Equipment

Make Origin Type
M81 woodland  United States Battledress
Desert Camouflage Uniform  United States Battledress
No.7: Warm weather barrack dress  United Kingdom Barrack Dress
58 pattern webbing  United Kingdom Webbing
Personal Load Carrying Equipment  United Kingdom Webbing used by C(SD)Company
Arktis webbing  United States Webbing used by C(SD)Company
SPECTRA helmet  United States Helmet
Sistema Compositi SEPT-2 PLUS Italy Italy Helmet
No.2: Service dress (temperate parade uniform)  United Kingdom Parade Uniform
No.3: Warm weather ceremonial uniform  United Kingdom Parade Uniform
Navy blue beret  United Kingdom Beret
S10 NBC Respirator  United Kingdom Gas Mask

Light equipment

Make Origin Type
RPG-7V  Soviet Union Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher
FN MAG  Belgium GPMG
Browning M2 .50 HMG  United States Heavy machine gun
FN Minimi  Belgium Light machine gun
Beretta 92 Italy Italy Pistol
Makarov PM  Soviet Union Pistol
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany SMG
Beretta M12 Italy Italy SMG
Beretta AR70/90 Italy Italy Assault Rifle
Type 56  China Assault Rifle
Type 81  China Assault Rifle
FN-FAL  Belgium Battle Rifle
SIG 551  Switzerland Assault Rifle
Benelli M4 Super 90 Italy Italy Shotgun
Type 80  China Medium machine gun
PK  Soviet Union Medium machine gun
Rheinmetall MG3  Germany Medium machine gun
Type 85 Chinese variant of Dragunov SVD  China Sniper Rifle
Accuracy International PM/L96 - Including L115 (.338), AI96 (.308), Accuracy International AWM, and AW50 anti-material variants  United Kingdom Sniper Rifle
L16 81mm Mortar  United Kingdom Mortar
L9A1 51 mm Light Mortar  United Kingdom Mortar
M67 grenade  United States Hand grenade
SRCM 35 Italy Italy Hand grenade
MK3A2 Grenade  United States Hand grenade
AN M18  United States Hand grenade
M84 stun grenade  United States Hand grenade


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