Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta

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Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing
Skwadra tal-Ajru tal-Forzi Armati ta' Malta
Malta Air Wing emblem.svg
Maltese Air Wing emblem
Active 1973–Present
Country  Malta
Branch Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta
Size 15 aircraft (2 leased by Italy)
Roundel Roundel of Malta.svg
Fin flash 50px
Aircraft flown
Patrol Beechcraft Super King Air, AgustaWestland AW139, Agusta-Bell AB 212
Reconnaissance Aérospatiale Alouette III, Agusta-Bell AB 212
Trainer Scottish Aviation Bulldog
Transport Britten-Norman Islander, Beechcraft Super King Air

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.

The Air Wing of the Armed Forces is based at the AFM terminal at the Malta International Airport.


While Malta has a rather long tradition of military aviation within its territory, including the housing of Royal Air Force bases and squadrons during World War Two, the nation had no official military aviation of its own until gaining independence in 1964 (and the building of an independent national military that followed).

The Air Wing was founded as an operational branch of the Armed Forces of Malta in the early 1970s. The Air Wing serves primarily as a support branch of the ground forces and Maritime Squadron of the AFM and has so far never operated combat aircraft. The Air Wing's current Commanding Officer is Lieutenant Colonel Clinton O'Neill.

Current structure

The main divisions of the Air Wing are :

  • The Air Wing Headquarters - Tasked with command, control, and coordination of the air wing's divisions and sub-units, in order to ensure unit readiness for responding to various operational requirements, both locally and overseas.
  • The Headquarters Squadron - Provides logistical and service support to the other sub-units of the AFM Air Wing. It is responsible for transport management, logistics procurement, and human resources administration required for the air wing's daily duties and commitments. The Integrated Logistics Division within the Headquarters Squadron is tasked with ensuring of the stocking up of all aircraft parts and aircraft maintenance documenation.
  • The Operations Squadron - The main operations element of the AFM's Air Wing, in charge of utilizing the aircraft inventory. It consists of three subdivisions :
    • The Fixed Wing Flight - In charge of coastal and offshore patrolling, sighting and reporting of irregular migration at sea and interdiction, fisheries patrols, and several other varied flight duties.
    • The Rotary Wing Flight - Handles all helicopter operations, ranging from offshore casualty evacuation and rescue to air ambulance as well as patient transfer between the Islands' two main hospitals. It also provides assistance to other government entities as required.
    • The Rescue Section - A small unit of soldiers and rescue personnel specially trained for rescue operations on land and at sea. Each rescue-swimmer is qualified in first aid, life saving, and other specialist skills. Membership in the unit requires a high level of physical fitness.
  • The Support Squadron - By far the largest of the Air Wing's divisions, the Support Squadron is in charge of the maintenance of the aircraft inventory. The ground crew personnel are also responsible for aircraft and equipment handling on the ground, emergency fire fighting, aircraft marshalling, aircraft towing, aircraft refuelling, and other essential line duties.[1]


Below is a list of aircraft currently operated by the Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing. The Air Wing operates a total of 8 fixed-wing aircraft and 7 helicopters. Since its founding, the Air Wing has never operated any jet-powered or combat aircraft.

Current inventory

Type Origin Class Role Introduced Status Total Notes
Britten-Norman BN-2B/T Islander United Kingdom Propeller Patrol 1995 1 in service 2 Maritime[2][3][4]
Beechcraft Super King Air 200 United States Propeller Patrol 2 in service 2 Maritime surveillance[3][5]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy Helicopter Patrol 2 in service 2 Maritime. 1 on order.[3][6]
Aérospatiale SA316B Alouette III France Helicopter Patrol 1992 3 in service 5 Also used for search and rescue and medical evacuation.[3][4]
Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 United Kingdom Propeller Trainer 2000 4 in service 4 [7][4]

In a bilateral agreement with Italy, the Italian Air Force provides two AB 212 helicopters to performs SAR duty with Maltese rescuers on board.[8]


An AFM AW139 taxis to the runway at Malta International Airport 
A Maltese King Air 200 on display at the Farnborough Air Show 
An Agusta-Bell 47G-2 over Malta International Airport 


  1. "Official AFM website - Overview of the AFM Air Wing's operational structure, divisions and subdivisions". Retrieved 2015-11-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "BRITTEN NORMAN BN-2B ISLANDER". Retrieved 21 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "World Air Forces 2016 pg. 24". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "World Air Forces: Malta Air Force Aircraft Types". Retrieved 31 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "New AFM patrol aircraft rolled out". Retrieved 30 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Malta takes delivery of second AW139". Retrieved 21 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. World Air Forces 2014 "WAF 2014" Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Flightglobal Insight. 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "AGUSTA BELL 212". Retrieved 21 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links