Narrative History
Armed Forces of Malta

Narrative Summary:
The defence of Malta was undertaken by Britain until its final withdrawal in March 1979. In the meantime, three Maltese Territorial Units were handed over to local control in April 1965 as the Malta Land Forces. Direct British military aid ended in October 1970. In 1970 plans to form a helicopter flight were formulated. West Germany offered to donate four Army helicopters in 1970, and in October of that year Maltese personnel were sent to Fassberg in Germany for training. The helicopters were delivered in May 1972, forming the initial equipment of the Malta Land Forces Helicopter Flight.

With the acquisition of some naval patrol boats, the Malta Land Forces were renamed the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) in April 1973. The AFM was initially divided into two numbered Regiments, with the Helicopter Flight being attached to the First Regiment. Between 1973 and 1980 the Helicopter Flight received considerable technical and training assistance from Libya. On 1st April 1980, all units of the 1st Regiment, including the Helicopter Flight, became a component of a tactical unit within the AFM known as the Task Force, (the Task Force also included naval vessels and coastal artillery).

In 1981 an Italian Military Mission arrived to take over the role of training and providing technical advice. On 11 May 1988 the Task Force units were absorbed back into the AFM. In February 1992 the first fixed-wing aircraft were received – Cessna O-1Es. These aircraft were initially flown by Italian pilots while Maltese personnel were trained in Italy. On 22 July 1992, the Helicopter Flight was renamed the Air Squadron and re-assigned to the 2nd (Composite) Regiment of the AFM. On 31 October 2006 the Air Squadron was renamed the Air Wing, to reflect its increased responsibilities.

Leave a Comment