Armed Forces of Malta
Forzi Armati ta' Malta
The coat of arms of the Armed Forces of Malta consists of a De Redin tower with a red background.
Founded19 April 1973
Service branchesHeadquarters
1st Regiment
3rd Regiment
4th Regiment
Maritime Squadron
Air Wing
Commander-in-ChiefMarie Louise Coleiro Preca
Minister for Home Affairs and National SecurityCarmelo Abela MP
Chief of DefenseBrigadier Jeffrey Curmi
Military age18 years of age
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 personnel2,130 (2012)
Budget€42.7 million (2012)
Percent of GDP0.6% (2012)
Foreign suppliers Italy
 United Kingdom
 United States
Related articles
HistoryMilitary 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.

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.

3rd Battalion, AFM

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

4th Battalion, AFM

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

Air Wing

Main article: Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta

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

Main article: Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta

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.

Battle Honours



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
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
Submachine Gun
Heckler & Koch MP5 K  Germany Submachine Gun 9×19 mm
Heckler & Koch MP5 A4  Germany Submachine Gun 9×19 mm
Heckler & Koch MP5 A5  Germany Submachine Gun 9×19 mm
Beretta M12  Italy Submachine Gun 9×19 mm
Battle Rifle
FN FAL  Belgium Battle Rifle 7.62×51 mm Used for ceremonial purposes.
Assault Rifle
AK-47  Soviet Union Assault Rifle 7.62×39 mm 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
Sniper rifle
Accuracy International AWM -  United Kingdom Sniper Rifle 7.62×67 mm (.300 Win Mag)
Machine gun
FN Minimi  Belgium Light machine gun
FN MAG  Belgium General-purpose machine gun 7.62×51 mm
PK  Soviet Union Medium machine gun 7.62×54mmR
Browning M2  United States Heavy machine gun 12.7×99 mm (.50)
Benelli M4  Italy Semi-automatic Shotgun 12 gauge
Anti-tank Weapon
Type 69 RPG  People's Republic of China Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher 40 mm
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