Armed Forces of Malta

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Armed Forces of Malta
Forzi Armati ta' Malta
Coat of arms. Armed forces of Malta.jpg
The coat of arms of the Armed Forces of Malta consists of a De Redin tower with a red background.
Founded 19 April 1973
Service branches Headquarters
1st Regiment
3rd Regiment
4th Regiment
Maritime Squadron
Air Wing
Headquarters Luqa
Commander-in-Chief Marie Louise Coleiro Preca
Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela MP
Chief of staff Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi
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 2,130 (2012)
Budget €42.7 million (2012)
Percent of GDP 0.6% (2012)
Foreign suppliers  Italy
 United Kingdom
 United States
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. Since Malta is guardian of the European Union's most southerly border, the AFM has an active role in 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.

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

1st Battalion, AFM

1st Battalion 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.

  • Headquarters Company - provides combat service support to the other manoeuvre subunits of the unit. The orbat consists of a Company Headquarters (CHQ), Motor Transport section, Pioneer section, Regimental Police section, Signals section, Armoury section and Quartermaster Section.
  • 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.
  • Battle Honour

3rd Battalion, AFM

3 Battalion 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 Battalion, AFM

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

  • HQ Company
  • 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.
  • C2S Company - responsible for the entire communication of the Armed Forces of Malta. Operates the operation center for S&R, internal & external communications, landlines, & IT services.
  • Training School - Training and Development. Initial training (BMT & Cadetship) and career development (JNCO's & SNCO's).

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

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

The Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta is the naval component of the current Maltese military. The Maritime Squadron has responsibility for the security of Maltese territorial waters, maritime surveillance and law enforcement, as well as search and rescue. It is based at Hay Wharf (Xatt it-Tiben) in Floriana. It currently operates 10 patrol vessels and 6 other boats.

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 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 Cadet for 1 Year
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

See: 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



See: AFM aircraft

Maritime Patrol Vessels

See: AFM maritime patrol vessels


Name Origin Type Photo Notes
Land Rover Defender 110  United Kingdom 4x4
Iveco VM 90  Italy Tactical SUV Véhicule de l'armée maltaise.jpg
Bedford TK  United Kingdom Truck
Bedford TM  United Kingdom Truck
Fiat Ducato  Italy Van

Small Arms and Light Equipment

Name Origin Type Caliber Image Notes
Beretta 92FS  Italy Pistol 9×19 mm Beretta 92 FS.gif
Submachine Gun
Heckler & Koch MP5 K  Germany Submachine Gun 9×19 mm HK MP5K (6109885573).jpg
Heckler & Koch MP5 A4  Germany Submachine Gun 9×19 mm
Heckler & Koch MP5 A5  Germany Submachine Gun 9×19 mm Heckler & Koch MP5 b.jpg
Beretta M12  Italy Submachine Gun 9×19 mm Beretta mod12s scheda.jpg
Battle Rifle
FN FAL  Belgium Battle Rifle 7.62×51 mm FN-FAL belgian.jpeg Used for ceremonial purposes.
Assault Rifle
AK-47  Soviet Union Assault Rifle 7.62×39 mm Rifle AK MON.jpg The majority of these rifles are based on the Type 56 assault rifle donated by the Chinese government, which were modified to a high standard throughout the years.
Beretta AR70/90  Italy Assault Rifle 5.56×45 mm Scheda2c.JPG
Sniper rifle
Accuracy International AWM -  United Kingdom Sniper Rifle 7.62×67 mm (.300 Win Mag) L115A3 sniper rifle.jpg
Machine gun
FN Minimi  Belgium Light machine gun M249 FN MINIMI DA-SC-85-11586 c1.jpg
FN MAG  Belgium General-purpose machine gun 7.62×51 mm FN MAG.jpg
PK  Soviet Union Medium machine gun 7.62×54mmR 7,62 KK PKM Helsinki 2012.JPG
Browning M2  United States Heavy machine gun 12.7×99 mm (.50) Machine gun M2 1.jpg
Benelli M4  Italy Semi-automatic Shotgun 12 gauge Benelli m4 2.jpg
Anti-tank Weapon
Type 69 RPG  People's Republic of China Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher 40 mm DN-SD-06-16156.JPG
L9A1 51 mm Light Mortar  United Kingdom Mortar 51 mm
L16 81mm Mortar  United Kingdom Mortar 81 mm
M67 grenade  United States Hand grenade
SRCM 35  Italy Hand grenade
MK3A2 Grenade  United States Hand grenade
AN M18  United States Hand grenade
M84 stun grenade  United States Hand grenade
ZPU-4  Soviet Union Anti-Aircraft Gun 14.5×114 mm
Bofors 40 mm gun  Sweden Anti-Aircraft 40 mm

Uniform and Personal Equipment

Make Origin Type
US Multicam (R)  United States Battledress
US Woodland  United States Battledress
Desert Camouflage Uniform  United States Battledress
Multi-Terrain Pattern  United Kingdom 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 Kingdom Webbing used by C(SD)Company
SPECTRA helmet  France Helmet
Sistema Compositi SEPT-2 PLUS  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


External links