Armed Force of Malta Air Squadron
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Air Force

Alouettes of the Air Squadron.
(photo: Pierre Gillard by courtesy of

Current Title: -
Title in English: Armed Forces of Malta No.2 (Composite) Regiment Air Squadron
Abbreviation: AFM Air Squadron


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.

Key Dates:
October 1971    First Maltese personnel go to West Germany for helicopter training
May 1972    Helicopter Flight of The Malta Land Force (MLF) established
19 April 1973    Renamed the Helicopter Flight of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM)
April 1979    Helicopter Flight moves to Luqa Airport
1 April 1980    Helicopter Flight Malta Task Force
August 1980    Libyan assistance withdrawn
11 May 1988    Reverted to previous title
February 1992    First fixed-wing aircraft received
22 July 1992    Renamed Air Squadron, Armed Forces of Malta

Current Status:
Malta does not have conscription, and consequently, the Air Squadron is manned by professionals. The main tasks are coastal patrol, communications, search and rescue and medical evacuation flights.

Future Plans:
The Bell 47 helicopters need to be replaced in the near future.

Alouette III AS9315 at Luqa.
(photo: Pierre Gillard by courtesy of


National Insignia:
Current --- Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
All Maltese military aircraft were initially allocated civilian registrations on the Maltese civil aircraft register. For example, the single Agusta-Bell AB.206A was registered 9H-AAJ.

In May 2000, a new military serialling system was introduced. This comprised a four-digit serial number prefixed by the letters 'AS' for Air Squadron. The first two digits indicate the year of introduction into service and the second two being the overall sequence number. Thus Bulldog AS0020 was acquired in the year 2000 and was the 20th aircraft to be operated by Malta.

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
Coding system not used


Aircraft Designation System(s):
None - Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order

Aircraft NOT Used:
No false reports of aircraft on order or in service have been noted.

Alouette III AS9315 seen in February 2003.
(photo: Roberto Benetti)


Main Headquarters:
St Patrick's Barracks, Luqa.

Current Organisational Structure:
Malta has no defence ministry so the AFM Air Squadron reports directly to the Prime Minister. The AFM is divided into 3 numbered Regiments, of which the second has the Air Squadron attached to it. The 2nd Regiment comprises Air Defence Artillery, Aviation and Maritime units. The Air Squadron currently comprises a helicopter flight and a fixed-wing flight.

Current Order of Battle:
Air Squadron

Historical Orders of Battle:
Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List:
Not applicable

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
All aircraft and helicopters are currently based at Luqa International Airport.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
The Helicopter Flight was initially based at St Patrick's Barracks but later moved to Luqa. The British established a number of airfields around the country, some of which may still be in use.
Military Air Bases Listing

More Information


Malta Aviation Bibliography


World Air Power Journal No.5 p.146
World Air Power Journal No.9 p.22-23
World Air Power Journal No.10 p.18
Air Action No.37 p.30-31
Air Forces Monthly January 1997 p.23-25
Air International July 1996
Air Pictorial April 2002


Armed Forces of Malta Air Squadron

Official Armed Forces of Malta Website

Armed Forces of Malta Unofficial Homepage

2nd Regiment Armed Forces of Malta Unofficial Website (Password: St. Barbara)

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First Created: 20 June 2002 - Last Revised: 4 February 2003
Copyright 2002 John Hayles.    e-mail: