Military Wiki
Armed Forces of Malta
Forzi Armati ta' Malta
Coat of arms. Armed forces of Malta.jpg
Military ensign
Founded 19 April 1973
Service branches Headquarters
1st Regiment
3rd Regiment
4th Regiment
Maritime Squadron
Air Wing
Headquarters Luqa
Commander-in-Chief George Abela
Defence Minister Emanuel Mallia MP
Chief of Defense 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. The AFM is also responsible for border control.[1]


Headquarters, AFM

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

  • Operations Branch
  • 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
    • Operation Atalanta

Air Wing

The Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta is the aerial component of the current Maltese military. The Air Wing has responsibility for the security of Maltese airspace, conducts maritime patrol and Search and Rescue duties, and provides military assistance to other government departments of Malta.

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[2] Year entered service Notes
1 "Modified" Diciotti class Offshore patrol vessel [3] (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 [4] (P 51, P 52) Bollinger Shipyards Incorporated, United States 2002 Based on Damen Stan 2600
1 Bremse Class Inshore Patrol Boat (Bremse Type KB123) [5] (P 32)  Germany 1992 Built for ex-East German Navy 1971-1972[6]
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[6]
2 (CP800 Vittoria Melita Class Search and Rescue Launch [7] (Melita I, Melita II) Cantiere Navale Vittoria, Adria  Italy 1998
1 Fast-Interceptor Craft Rigid-hulled inflatable boat [8] (P 01) FB Design Srl  Italy 2006 Acquired in 2003
4 P21 class inshore patrol vessel [9] P21, P22, P23, P24 Austal, Perth  Australia[10] 2010 Ordered in Feb 2009. Two vessels were launched on October 6, 2009.[6] 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

Protector-class patrol boats on anti-piracy training mission in 2011

A list of vessels since retired by the AFM:[11]

Fleet # Type Notes
P25, P26 patrol ships
C26 patrol craft
P29, P30, P31 patrol boats Ex-East German Kondor I Class 1968-1970
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 Ordnance 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.

Ranks of the AFM

Rank Average Length of service
Gunner (rank) First Rank
Lance Bombardier 3 Years
Bombardier 6-8 Years
Sergeant 12 Years
Staff Sergeant 14 Years
Warrant Officer Class 2 16 Years
Warrant Officer Class 1 18 Years
Second Lieutenant Officer for 2 Years
Lieutenant Officer for 2 Years
Captain Officer for 3 Years
Major Officer for 8-10 Years
Lieutenant Colonel Officer for 16-18 Years
Colonel officer for 22–24 years
Brigadier officer for 25–27 years

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
Land Rover Wolf  United Kingdom 4x4
Iveco VM 90 Tactical SUV
Bedford TK  United Kingdom Truck
Bedford TM  United Kingdom Truck
Fiat Ducato Van

Uniform and Personal Equipment

Make Origin Type
US 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  France Helmet
Sistema Compositi SEPT-2 PLUS 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

Small Arms and 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 Pistol
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany SMG
Beretta M12 SMG
Type 56  China Assault Rifle
Type 81  China Assault Rifle
Beretta AR70/90 Assault Rifle
AK-47  Soviet Union Assault Rifle
FN FAL  Belgium Battle Rifle
Type 80  China Medium machine gun
PK  Soviet Union Medium machine gun
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 Hand grenade
MK3A2 Grenade United States Hand grenade
AN M18 United States Hand grenade
M84 stun grenade United States Hand grenade


  1. List of national services responsible for border control
  2. "Maritime Squadron, Armed Forces of Malta". Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  3. "Official AFM website - AFM Maritime Squadron Diciotti Class Offshore Patrol Vessel overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  4. "Official AFM website - AFM Maritime Squadron Protector Class Offshore Patrol Vessels overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  5. "Official AFM website - AFM Maritime Squadron Protector Class Offshore Patrol Vessels overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "New AFM patrol boats launched". Times of Malta. 2009-10-06. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  7. "Official AFM website - AFM Maritime Squadron SAR Supervittoria 800 Rescue Launches overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  8. "Official AFM website - AFM Maritime Squadron FB Interceptor Vessel overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  9. "Official AFM website - AFM Maritime Squadron Austal P21 Class Inshore Patrol Vessels overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  10. "Visit to Australia by Republic of Malta Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs The Hon Dr Tonio Borg". Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  11. "Maltese Navy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 

External links

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