|Armed Forces of Malta|
|Forzi Armati ta' Malta|
|Founded||19 April 1973|
|Service branches|| Headquarters|
|President of Malta||George Vella|
|Minister for Home Affairs, National Security & Law Enforcement||Byron Camilleri MP|
|Commander of the Armed Forces||Brigadier Clinton J O'Neill|
|Military age||18 years of age|
|Budget||€54 million (2020)|
|Foreign suppliers|| Italy|
|History||Military history of Malta|
King's Own Malta Regiment
National Congress Battalions
|Ranks||Military ranks of Malta|
The Armed Forces of Malta (Maltese: Forzi Armati ta' 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 the guardian of the European Union's southernmost border, the AFM has an active role in border control.
In April 1800, while the blockade of Valletta was underway, Thomas Graham raised the first official Maltese Troops in the British Army, which became known as the Maltese Light Infantry. This battalion was disbanded in 1802 and succeeded by the Maltese Provincial Battalions, the Malta Coast Artillery and the Maltese Veterans. In 1815, Lieutenant Colonel Count Francis Rivarola was entrusted with the task of raising the Royal Malta Fencible Regiment following the disbandment of the Provincials, Veterans and Coast Artillery. The Royal Malta Fencible Regiment was converted to an artillery regiment in 1861 and became known as the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery. Twenty-eight years later, the direct predecessors of the modern Armed Forces of Malta came into existence following the formation of the Royal Malta Artillery on 23 March 1889.
The King's Own Malta Regiment was a territorial infantry regiment on the British Army colonial list. 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 being disbanded 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 1964. The regiment was disbanded in 1972.
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.
KOMR Battle Honours
HQ AFM is the Force Headquarters located at Luqa Barracks, Luqa. It is a joint Headquarters that operates at the military strategic as well as the operational and tactical levels.
HQ AFM is composed of the following branches:
Main article: 1st Regiment of the Armed Forces of Malta
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.
3 Regiment is the AFM's main support unit, and consists of three operational sections.
Established with the AFM review of 30 October 2006, it includes:
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. The Air Wing is based at Malta International Airport.
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.
In addition to the regular forces, there is also the Volunteer Reserve Force, which consists of part-time volunteers to support the regulars.
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 from July 1988 to 7 November 2016, when its last helicopter left Malta.
IMM personnel resources in Malta totalled 12 officers and 35 NCOs from the three service branches of the Italian Armed Forces. It was also equipped with two AB 212 helicopters, 15 heavy plant vehicles, 60 light all-purpose utility vehicles, radio telecommunications, and weapons.
See also: Military ranks of Malta
The Armed Forces of Malta mainly consist of professional soldiers. There are also a small number of reserve soldiers. Malta does not employ conscription. Volunteers, who want to enlist, need to be citizens of Malta, and between 18–30 years old. In 2017, there were roughly 1,950 active personnel and 180 reservists.
Since Malta's entry in the European Union, the AFM has become more engaged in peacekeeping missions. The AFM has participated in 7 overseas operations.
On land, 1 Regiment is the designated home of the Maltese Infantry with C (Special Duties) Company being at the cutting edge of this unit. The company is being trained and equipped to be able to contribute a platoon for overseas humanitarian and rescue missions attached to an Italian regiment on missions mandated by the UN or the OSCE. Malta has to ensure that the troops are adequately trained and equipped up to Italian army standards for seamless integration within an Italian regiment, able to tackle any foreseeable problems for up to a year. C (Special Duties) Company is also being geared for a quick reaction role, ready for action at a moment's notice should an emergency, such as terrorism, arise.
The kit used by the Maltese foot soldier has changed drastically in recent years. The fiat for change was given to C Company prior to its successful participation in the multi-national Partnership for Peace exercise in 1996. Following Malta's pledge towards the EU's Military Headline Goal in 2000, procurement received another boost.
With funding being a perennial problem, over the years the Force had to rely on varied equipment transferred or financed by several countries. Standardisation was a headache. But matters have improved considerably, especially with regard to light infantry weapons. At one time there were as many as eight different types of pistol and associated ammunition, now there are two, principally the Beretta FS and some Makarov. The army has also bought Heckler and Koch sub-machine guns and, thanks to Chinese assistance, all infantrymen now have their own individual AKM rifle.
The Maltese Infantry soldier is equipped with the latest British Army issue Personal Load Bearing Equipment including both the webbing and bergen as well as the woodland pattern battle dress uniform, Avon S10 respirator and Kevlar ballistic helmet. Protective ballistic vests and night vision goggles are carried when required.
Infantry soldiers have a number of weapons at their disposal including the Kalashnikov AK-47 and AKM rifles, the Heckler and Koch MP-5 sub-machine guns, the Beretta 92 FS pistols, the PKM machine gun, as well as the General Purpose Machine Gun L7A1. Sniper teams are equipped with the Accuracy International sniper rifle while the anti-tank troops embedded within the infantry platoons carry the RPG-7 rocket launcher.
Eight-man sections are deployed either on Land rovers or Iveco VM-90 trucks. The AFM also operates a number of Bedford trucks which, despite their age, still give excellent service. Suffice to say that these trucks were driven in convoys all the way to Kosovo and back three times in 2001 and not one of them broke down. The Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit is equipped with two remote controlled Explosive Ordnance Disposal Vehicles – robots used to disable a bomb from a safe distance. The first was bought in 1989 and a second, much more sophisticated one, was bought last year.
The Air Defence Battery forms part of 2nd Regiment and operates Bofors 40L/70 anti-aircraft guns and four barrelled ZSU-4 heavy machine guns. The Bofors guns can be operated either manually or electrically and they can be laid on their targets either visually or through radar. The 14.5mm machine guns can only be operated manually but they provide a high rate of fire. Air defence posed particular problems because of the passage of time on the Bofors guns, built in the early 1950s.
See: AFM aircraft
See: AFM maritime patrol vessels
|Land Rover Defender||United Kingdom||SUV||Model 110 – 300TDI.|
|Ford F-350||United States||Pick-Up Truck||A total of 2 Ford F-350 donated by the USA in conjunction with the two defender class boats for the Maritime section.|
|Isuzu D-Max 4WD||Japan||Pick-Up Truck||A total of 23 Isuzu D-Max 4WD.|
|Iveco VM 90||Italy||SUV|||
|Iveco ACM 90||Italy||Truck|||
|Beretta 92||Italy||Semi-automatic pistol||9×19mm Parabellum||Model Beretta 92FS.|
|Beretta M12||Italy||Submachine gun||9×19mm Parabellum|||
|Heckler & Koch MP5||West Germany||Submachine gun||9×19mm Parabellum||Models MP5K, MP5A4, and MP5A5.|
|Rifles and carbines|
|FN FAL||Belgium||Battle rifle||7.62×51mm NATO||Used as a parade rifle.|
|AK-47/AKM||Soviet Union||Assault rifle||7.62×39mm||Various versions from different countries. Currently serves as a service rilfe.|
|SIG MCX||Switzerland||Assault rifle,||5.56×45mm NATO||Used by 1st Regiment C Company.|
|Beretta ARX160||Italy||Assault rifle||5.56×45mm NATO|
|PK machine gun|| Soviet Union
|General-purpose machine gun||7.62×54mmR||Some Chinese variants in service.|
|L7A1||Belgium United Kingdom||General-purpose machine gun||7.62×51mm NATO|||
|M2 Browning||United States||Heavy machine gun||.50 BMG|||
|G28||Germany||Designated marksman rifle||7.62×51mm NATO|
|Accuracy International Arctic Warfare||United Kingdom||Sniper rifle||7.62×51mm NATO
.300 Winchester Magnum
|Two variants with different calibers in service.|
|AX-308||United Kingdom||Sniper rifle||7.62×51mm NATO
.300 Winchester Magnum
|Rocket grenade and mortars|
|Type 69 RPG||China||Rocket-propelled grenade||40mm||12 RPG-7M donated by China. Not in active use.|
|82-BM-37||China||Mortar||82mm||26 mortars donated by China. Not in active use.|
|L16 81mm mortar||United Kingdom||Mortar||81mm|
|Ordnance QF 25-pounder||United Kingdom||Field gun/Howitzer||88mm||Used for ceremonial purposes only.|
|ZPU|| Soviet Union
|Anti-aircraft gun||14.5×114mm||50 gifted by North Korea in 1986. Not in active use.|
|Bofors 40 mm Automatic Gun L/70||Sweden||Anti-aircraft gun||40mm|||
|US MultiCam||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|
|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|
|Sistema Compositi SEPT-2 PLUS||Italy||Helmet|
|S10 NBC Respirator||United Kingdom||Gas mask|
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.