Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Maltese Air Force)
Jump to: navigation, search
Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing
AIRWING 125x125.jpg
AFM Air Wing Logo
Active 1973–Present
Country  Malta
Branch Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta
Size 14 aircraft (2 leased by Italy)
Insignia
Roundel Roundel of Malta.svg
Fin flash Rudder of Malta.svg
Aircraft flown
Patrol Britten-Norman Islander, Beechcraft Super King Air, Aérospatiale SA316B Alouette III, Agusta-Bell AB 212
Reconnaissance Aérospatiale SA316B 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 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 of the Armed Forces is based at the AFM terminal at the Malta International Airport.

History[edit]

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 Two, 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 and Maritime Squadron of the AFM and has so far never operated combat aircraft. The Air Wing's current Commanding Officer is Colonel Mark Anthony Said.

Current structure[edit]

The main divisions of the Air Wing are :

  • The Air Wing Headquarters - Tasked with command, control, and coordination of the air wing's divisions and sub-units, in order to ensure unit readiness for responding to various operational requirements, both locally and overseas.
  • The Headquarters Squadron - Provides logistical and service support to the other sub-units of the AFM Air Wing. It is responsible for transport management, logistics procurement, and human resources administration required for the air wing's daily duties and commitments. The Integrated Logistics Division within the Headquarters Squadron is tasked with ensuring of the stocking up of all aircraft parts and aircraft maintenance documenation.
  • The Operations Squadron - The main operations element of the AFM's Air Wing, in charge of utilizing the aircraft inventory. It consists of three subdivisions :
    • The Fixed Wing Flight - In charge of coastal and offshore patrolling, sighting and reporting of irregular migration at sea and interdiction, fisheries patrols, and several other varied flight duties.
    • The Rotary Wing Flight - Handles all helicopter operations, ranging from offshore casualty evacuation and rescue to air ambulance as well as patient transfer between the Islands' two main hospitals. It also provides assistance to other government entities as required.
    • The Rescue Section - A small unit of soldiers and rescue personnel specially trained for rescue operations on land and at sea. Each rescue-swimmer is qualified in first aid, life saving, and other specialist skills. Membership in the unit requires a high level of physical fitness.
  • The Support Squadron - By far the largest of the Air Wing's divisions, the Support Squadron is in charge of the maintenance of the aircraft inventory. The ground crew personnel are also responsible for aircraft and equipment handling on the ground, emergency fire fighting, aircraft marshalling, aircraft towing, aircraft refuelling, and other essential line duties.[1]

List of aircraft[edit]

Below is a list of aircraft currently operated by the Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing. The Air Wing operates a total of 8 fixed-wing aircraft and 5 helicopters. Since its founding, the Air Wing has never operated any jet-powered or combat aircraft.

Aircraft Photo Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Trainer Aircraft
Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 [2][3][4] Maltese Air Force Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 JPTA.jpg  United Kingdom Fixed-wing trainer aircraft Series 120 4 Ex-RAF.[5] One crashed in 2007, due to a microburst.
Transport and Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Britten-Norman BN-2B-26 Islander [6][7][8] Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing Islander Zammit-2.jpg  United Kingdom Fixed-wing maritime patrol and transport aircraft BN-2B-26 and BN-2T 2 1 BN-2B, 1 BN-2T
Beechcraft B200 King Air [9][10][11] AS1126-Malta-KingAir-0645.jpg  United States Fixed-wing maritime patrol and transport aircraft B200 2 Fitted with Telephonics Corporation RDR-1700B Maritime Surveillance and Imaging Radar[12] The first one entered service in February 2011 and the second one in March 2012.[13][14]
Maritime Patrol and Utility Helicopters
Aérospatiale SA 316B Alouette III [15][16][17] Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing Aerospatiale SA-316B Alouette III Zammit-2.jpg  France Light helicopter, SAR and coastal patrol SA316B 3 Ex-Libyan Air Force. Often used in coordination with the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta.
Agusta-Bell Helicopter AB 212 [18][19][20] AB.212 of Italian Air Force.JPG  Italy Utility helicopter, SAR and coastal patrol AB-212 2 Helicopters operated with mixed crews on SAR duties by an Italian Technical Assistance Mission. Often used in coordination with the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta.
AgustaWestland AW139 Irish Air Corps AgustaWestland AW-139 Lofting.jpg  Italy Maritime border patrol and SAR missions AW139 1 (+1) 1 delivered in June 2014 and another one to be delivered by June 2015, plus option for one more.

Retired Aircraft[edit]

The aircraft are listed in chronological order by date of retirement.

  • Agusta-Bell 47 - Three former West German army Agusta-Bell 47s (version AB.47G-2) were delivered to Malta in March 1972. In 1975-1976, they received an overhaul in Bergamo, Italy. While in service, they were used for patrolling and Search and Rescue duties. The aircraft were retired in 1997 and gradually sold off by the end of the decade.[21]
  • Agusta-Bell AB.206A - One AB.206A was donated by Libya and delivered on the 4th June 1973. It was operated mainly for Search and Rescue duties and was eventually sold in November 1997.[22]
  • Cessna O-1 Bird Dog - A total of five aircraft were acquired from the Italian Army via the USA. They were delivered in January and February 1992 and served in the AFM Air Wing until March 2000, after which they were sold to civilian operators. One example was sold to the Malta Aviation Museum. All five aircraft were used for coastal patrol, Search and Rescue duties and pilot training.[23][24]
  • Bell 47G-2 - One former West German army Bell 47 (version 47G-2) was delivered to Malta in March 1972. In 1975-1976, it received an overhaul in Bergamo, Italy. Used for patrolling and Search and Rescue duties. The aircraft was retired and stored in February 2002.[25]
  • Breda Nardi Hughes NH-500M - Italian license-built version of the Hughes NH-500E (manufactured by Breda Nardi before its merger with Agusta). Two Hughes 500M were obtained from the Italian Guardia Di Finanza and delivered to the Air Wing in June 1992. They were used for Search and Rescue and patrol duties and were retired and stored in February 2002 and September 2004.[26]
  • CASA C-212 Aviocar – The Air Wing operated a single example in 2009.[27] It was leased for only 3 months by a Luxembourg-based company and had previously served in the Swedish Navy in an anti-submarine patrol role.[28][29][30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official AFM website - Overview of the AFM Air Wing's operational structure, divisions and subdivisions". 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  2. ^ "Official AFM website - AFM Air Wing Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  3. ^ "Photo of AFM Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 (airliners.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  4. ^ "Photo of AFM Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 (jetphotos.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  5. ^ "Confirmation of the former Royal Air Force career of the Maltese SA Bulldogs (at Aeroflight.co.uk)". 2005-09-16. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  6. ^ "Official AFM website - AFM Air Wing Britten-Norman BN-2B-26 Islander overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  7. ^ "Photo of AFM Britten-Norman BN-2T Turbine Islander (airliners.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  8. ^ "Photo of AFM Britten-Norman BN-2T Turbine Islander (jetphotos.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  9. ^ "Official AFM website - AFM Air Wing Beechcraft 200B King Air overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  10. ^ "Photo of AFM Hawker Beechcraft 200B King Air (airliners.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  11. ^ "Photo of AFM Hawker Beechcraft 200B King Air (jetphotos.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  12. ^ "Telephonics Radar Systems Division RDR-1700B" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  13. ^ and the other in March 2012. "New AFM patrol aircraft rolled out". Times of Malta. 2010-05-24. Archived from the original on 26 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  14. ^ Second AFM maritime patrol aircraft delivered
  15. ^ "Official AFM website - AFM Air Wing Aérospatiale SA 316B Alouette III overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  16. ^ "Photo of AFM Aérospatiale SA 316B Alouette III (airliners.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  17. ^ "Photo of AFM Aérospatiale SA 316B Alouette III (jetphotos.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  18. ^ "Official AFM website - AFM Air Wing Agusta-Bell AB 212 overview". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  19. ^ "Photo of AFM Agusta-Bell AB 212 (airliners.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  20. ^ "Photo of AFM Agusta-Bell AB 212 (jetphotos.net)". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  21. ^ "Info on the former AFM Agusta-Bell 47 G-2s at Aeroflight.co.uk". 2005-09-16. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  22. ^ "Info on the former AFM Agusta-Bell AB.206A at Aeroflight.co.uk". 2005-09-16. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  23. ^ "Article about the former AFM Bird Dog at the official website of the Malta Aviation Museum". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  24. ^ "Info on the former AFM Cessna O-1 Bird Dog at Aeroflight.co.uk". 2005-09-16. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  25. ^ "Info on the former AFM Bell 47G-2 at Aeroflight.co.uk". 2005-09-16. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  26. ^ "Info on the former AFM Hughes NH-500M at Aeroflight.co.uk". 2005-09-16. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  27. ^ Hoyle 2010, p. 42.
  28. ^ "Post about Maltese CASA Aviocar in discussion thread about CASA twin turboprop aircraft". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  29. ^ "Photo of the AFM Air Wing CASA Aviocar". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  30. ^ "Times of Malta article on the lending of a CASA Aviocar to the AFM Air Wing during 2009". 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  31. ^ "Article on the lending of a CASA Aviocar to the AFM Air Wing during 2009". 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 

External links[edit]