|Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing|
|L-Iskwadra tal-Ajru tal-FAM|
|Part of||Armed Forces of Malta|
|Commanding Officer||Lt Col James Thomas Grech|
|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 (Maltese: L-Iskwadra tal-Ajru tal-FAM) 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, medical evacuation, VIP transport 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.
Main articles: RAF Luqa, RAF Hal Far, and RAF Ta' Qali
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 II, 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 (as troops transport, security escort and fire support) and Maritime Squadron of the AFM (for maritime surveillance and border control mission) and has so far never operated combat aircraft. The Air Wing's current Commanding Officer is Lt. Col James Thomas Grech.
On 13 December 2013, the Air Wing of the AFM was awarded the 'Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika' (MQR) in recognition of its distinguished service toward safety at sea, humanitarian assistance to people in distress and to the welfare of Maltese people.
In a bilateral agreement with Italy, the Italian Air Force provided two AB 212 helicopters to perform SAR duties with Maltese rescuers on board. This was operated under the name of Italian Military in Malta which was initially intended to help the Maltese Government establish and maintain a modern military force as well operate a SAR detachment. This lasted more than 40 years with the Italian AB212's and their predecessors the AB 204 logging over 15,000 flight hours in both training and SAR missions whilst saving over 270 people. By 2015 the intended role of this mission had been fulfilled with the Maltese Air Wing able to operate a modern SAR force and due to budget cuts the mission started to wind down until eventually the final chapter of service was closed in 2016 with the Italian AB212's going home.
The main divisions of the Air Wing are :
Below is a list of aircraft operated by the Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing. The Air Wing operates 4 fixed-wing aircraft and 6 helicopters. Since its founding, the Air Wing has never operated jet-powered or combat aircraft.
|BN-2 Islander||United Kingdom||maritime patrol||BN-2B/T||1|
|Super King Air||United States||maritime patrol||B200||3||fitted with a maritime surveillance radar|
|Alouette III||France||SAR / utility||SA316B||3||left behind by LARAF in 1980|
|AgustaWestland AW139||Italy||SAR / maritime patrol||3|
In a bilateral agreement with Italy, the Italian Air Force provides two AB 212 helicopters to performs SAR duty with Maltese rescuers on board.
|BAe Bulldog||United Kingdom||training / patrol||Model 121||5||removed from service|
|CASA C-212||Spain||SAR / maritime patrol||1||3-month lease from CAE Aviation of Luxemburg|
|Cessna 0-1||United States||observation||0-1E||5||retired from service|
|Agusta-Bell 47||Italy||maritime patrol||47G2/G||3/1||Three G2's were former West German Army aircraft|
|Agusta-Bell 206||Italy||SAR / utility||Agusta-206A||1|
|MD 500||Italy||SAR / utility||NH-500M||2||licensed built Hughes 500 by Breda Nardi|