The Armed Forces of Malta information service.


Information published by the Armed Forces of Malta Press Releases:

Press-Media & Public Information Office
Armed Forces of Malta
Luqa Barracks
Luqa VLT-2000
Malta Tel.: +356-22494020
Fax.:+356-21241001 (office hrs) & +356-21809860 (all hrs)



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26 October 2009



A 69-year old North American national was medically evacuated by helicopter earlier this evening from a cruiseliner en route to Malta.

This morning, at 0923hrs, the Rescue and Co-ordination Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks was informed by the vessel M/S Rotterdam that they had a passenger who was suffering from internal bleeding who required urgent medical evacuation to hospital. The vessel had left the Egyptian port of Alexandria and was proceeding to Malta. It was in a position some 290 nautical miles (NM) south of Malta, and is expected to enter Valletta tomorrow morning at 06.30hrs.

The Italian Military Mission AB-212 rescue-helicopter was immediately scrambled into the air, with an Italo-Maltese flight crew onboard. The Netherlands registered ship made a mid-sea rendezvous with the Italian Air Force helicopter in a position about 125 NM from Malta.

The casualty's transfer operation lasted some 20 minutes given the recent inclement weather in the area. The casualty, Adalberto Herrera from the United States, was accompanied onboard by the cruiseliner's nurse. They were both conveyed to Mater Dei Hospital at 20.00hrs.

  Health-Related: Marine


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22 October 2009


Grand Symphonic Band and Organ Concert
Metropolitan Cathedral, Mdina

The Armed Forces of Malta’s Band, by courtesy of the Metropolitan Cathedral
Chapter, will be holding a Grand Symphonic Band and Organ Concert with Mr. John Aquilina, Cathedral Organist, under the direction of the AFM’s
Director of Music, Captain Ivan Borg, on Saturday 24th October 2009 at 8p.m

The media is invited to rehearsals for interviews/ photo and filming opportunities at the Mdina Metropolitan Cathedral on THURSDAY and FRIDAY 22 and 23 October, 09 after 16.00hrs.

The concert’s programme includes works by Clarke, Morricone, Mascagni, McBeth, Rozsa, and Handel which will be played by the AFM’s 52-man symphonic band and organ. The Cathedral Organist will also play romantic organ solo favourites by Vierne, Widor and Karg-Elert. Soprano Rosabelle Bianchi will sing popular works by Franck and Bach-Gounod. The general public is invited to attend. The concert will last one hour. Entrance is free of charge; there will be a retiring collection in aid of
the Community Chest Fund.


Should any correspondents and their respective cameramen/ photographers
wish further details, please contact:
Captain Joseph Spiteri - Office tel. no. 2249-4004/19/20 or mob. 7940651,
and email -

  AFM Activity: Notice


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19 October 2009


AFM Grand Symphonic Band & Organ Concert

On the occasion of the 39th Anniversary of the Armed Forces of Malta, a
Symphonic Band Concert by the Armed Forces of Malta Band and resident
Cathedral organist Mr John Aquilina is being held at Mdina Cathedral on
Saturday 24th October at 2000hrs.

  AFM Activity: Notice


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18 October 2009



Two individuals were early on Sunday morning detained by Armed Forces of
Malta personnel, when found in possesion of cannabis resin and joints.

Soldiers from 1 Regiment's "C" (Special Duties) Company were performing
vehicle checkpoints in Gzira and Cospicua. A 15-year old youth and a
25-year old man, were held in seperate cases when found in possession of
the cannabis by the soldiers.

The two individuals, each hailing from Cospicua and Gzira respectively,
were handed over to Police authorities for further investigations.




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14 October 2009



Background information on ADSC, 1 Regt AFM’s ADA Live-Fire Shoot


The ADSC is commanded by Officer-Commanding, Captain Chris Attard. At Pembroke Ranges, a Live Fire Exercise of the ZPU 14.5mm Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun (AAMG) is being held as the culmination exercise of seven weeks of intensive training on the ZPU gun for Regular personal and as phase one of the EVRF reservists’ annual camp.

Range orientation (Command post area)
The firing line down range will be made up of  three ZPU guns, in a  disposition that may be fired independently or all together as required, under the direction of a Firing Point Officer (FPO) who issues orders to the Master Gunners of each gun. The   Director of Practice and the Chief Safety Officer will oversee all the aspects of the shoot and coordinate all the safety requirements through radio and other comms. These will inform the FPO when the range is OPEN (Safe to fire the guns) or CLOSED (Range unsafe – Cease firing).  

ADSC origins
In 2006,  The ADSC was formerly called the Air Defence Battery, which formed part of (the now disbanded) 2nd Composite Regiment. When ADSC was absorbed in 1 Regt, it was amalgamated with the “D” Support Company.

Many changes have happened since then, the major one being the decision to decommission the Bofors L40/70 ordnance. Therefore, the only remaining Air Defence Artillery weapon currently in use in the AFM is the ZPU 14.5mm AAMG. There has been some discussion at higher level to introduce a SHORAD system (SHORAD standing for short range air defense) like the Stinger or Mistral surface to air missile (SAM) systems, but such discussion are at still at their very early stages.

 The ZPU 4 is a towed, quadruple barreled anti-aircraft gun based on the Soviet KPV 14.5mm gun. It has also a ground optical sight to fire on land/sea targets. It entered service with the Soviet Union in 1949 and is used by over 50 countries worldwide. Our ZPU’s are of Korean manufacture and were brought to Malta in 1987.
Composition of gun: 4 gun bodies, gun frame, carriage, Sight units, & Accessory boxes
Technical data: Maximum range: 12400m / Effective range 2000m
                         Max rate of fire (each barrel): 600 rds/min limited 150 rds (size of Mag)
Crew: Master gunner (MG)/ No 1. gunner  (Layer- Movement, aimer, firer)/ No2 gunner (Sight unit operator)/ No 3 & No 4 gunners (Loaders – loading, unloading, make safe) No5 gunner – helps the crew as required

The Safety setup
The Chief Safety Officer through the command post will coordinate the range safety directing:

  1. The two Safety launches used to direct all vessels sailing across the designated danger area
  2. The two look-outs positioned at both ends of the arc of fire for early warning about any maritime vessels approaching
  3. The three gun safety officers supervising the safe operation of each gun detachment
  4. Direct contact with AFM OPS CENTRE that will monitor the area through coastal radars

Other instructions:
a.         4 Range wardens will monitor all range approaches and prevent any unauthorized entry to the firing area
b.         1 Range safety officer ensuring that everyone and everything is in place at all times
c.          All persons on the range are to wear Kevlar/Steel helmet (depending on availability)
d.         VIP’s, Press members and guests are to stay within the demarked areas (RANGE D Butts)
e.         Safe areas for free movement prior the shoot are demarked with the mine tape.
f.          Gun detachment members are to wear flak jackets

  AFM Activity: Notice


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13 October 2009



A group of 78 illegal immigrants were late last night rescued during severe inclement weather by the Armed Forces of Malta’s P-61 offshore patrol vessel (OPV), from a position 68 nautical miles to the south of Malta.

The AFM’s Operations’ Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks had been earlier alerted to the plight of the illegal migrants by a phone call received yesterday morning from a foreign national residing in Malta. The caller claimed that the migrants had left Libya some two previously, and further specified how the group out at sea were made up to include women and young children.

An aircraft was immediately scrambled to the air by the AFM’s Air Wing to conduct a search pattern to the south of Malta. The illegal immigrants’ white rubber dinghy was later located at circa 13.00hrs by the PBN islander aircraft in a position 80 NM from Malta. Not all persons onboard had lifejackets initial visual reports indicated.

Simultaneously to this development, the UNHCR Malta office also notified RCC Malta that they had also received the same information on the illegal immigrants’ predicament from another foreign national residing in Malta, adding that their dinghy was adrift without any fuel. There were also a number of pregnant women onboard and were under a rain storm’s shower.

The Maritime Squadron’s Diciotti-class OPV P-61 had by this time been already deployed to the aerial sighted location of the illegal immigrants’ dinghy, and encountered rough seas as she steadily steamed south towards the dinghy adrift. They were located at 21.50hrs, and a transfer operation from the 12-metre dinghy in the inclement weather commenced right away. The OPV’s own Rigid-hull Dinghy (RHIB) was utilised for this, with great difficulty given the force 6 to 7 weather at the time. By 01.09hrs, all the migrants in distress were transferred safely onboard P-61, which started gradually steaming back to its homeberth at Haywharf Base in Floriana.

At 0830hrs circa, P-61 landed 45 males, 25 females, and 5 children in relatively a good health condition, with the exception of one of five pregnant women, who was in bad shape as she was near the end of her term.

Go to Frontex Watch Page

  Illegal Immigration


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06 October 2009



An Armed Forces of Malta offshore patrol vessel (OPV) has rescued 106 illegal immigrants off the high seas of the Mediterranean earlier this afternoon, after their large rubber dinghy's 115Hp engine trouble during their journey northwards.

The Maritime Squadron's Diciotti-class P-61 OPV was conducting a routine FRONTEX patrol as part of joint-operation Nautlius 2009, when it was diverted to a position circa 42 nautical miles south-west of Malta. An AFM Air Wing Islander aircraft, also en route to a FRONTEX patrol, overflew the area to see what assistance would be required.

Once the rubber-dinghy was located by P-61, it was established that the illegal migrants were taking in water whilst adrift at 15.26hrs. Their group was made up of 87 men and 19 women, who are claiming to be from Eritrea.

The illegal migrants, who were all in good health, were transferred onboard P-61, and the OPV berthed back at circa 18.15hrs at the Maritime Squadron's Haywharf Base.

Photo credit: Owen Formosa
AFM Maritime Squadron Crew P-61

Go to Frontex Watch Page

  Illegal Immigration


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02 October 2009


AFM award contract for new maritime patrol aircraft

A historic aviation milestone today for the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM): the signing of the contract for the provision of a new maritime patrol aircraft, funded from the 2009 External Borders Fund (EBF).
Thi is the third contract signing utilising funding from the EU's EBF framework. The project is co-financed with 75% of the funds being sourced from the EBF and remaining 25% being allocated from the Maltese Government. The global sum allocated to this project was that of €9.696 million.

Amongst today’s demanding challenges, those like blue border control are hard to keep up with. This required a major AFM aircraft fleet modernization so as to augment its current fixed wing fleet by enhancing its capabilities. Modern, cost effective and technology-based air capability is the main aim of this modernization, so assets can be effectively deployed on border control missions, often reaching beyond Maltese territorial seas and the contiguous zone.
The new AFM-operated aircraft will perform a major role in the protection of the Southern external borders of the EU, through missions which include detection, identification and coordination operations. The Maltese islands are at a critical location in the Mediterranean Sea to perform this role. In a secondary role, the aircraft will perform Search and Rescue (SAR) service in the Mediterranean Sea .

"Drawing up the technical specification for the project was not an easy task: compiling such a complex specification required quite a lot of lateral thinking," said Major Clinton O'Neill, Project Manager for the procurement of the AFM fixed wing maritime patrol aircraft.

A total of six international companies responded to the call for a competitive EU tender, all submitting their bids within the allocated timeframe. All bidders were European companies. Of the six bidders only two were found to be technical compliant to AFM requirements. One of the two, Aerodata AG, was selected to supply the AFM with a complete integrated system, training and the provision of a service and support package.

Aerodata has teemed up with Hawker Beechcraft Corporation as the provider of the fixed wing aircraft. Hawker Beechcraft is one of the leading aircraft manufacturing companies in what is categorised as ‘Special Mission Aircraft’. Aerodata, as the prime contractor for this program, will handle the complete process chain to provide a fully equipped new KingAir B200 aircraft (+ one optional). The specialised mission system equipment, sourced from Europe and America, integrates a Telephonics RDR 1700B 360° belly mounted search radar, a Wescam MX 15i Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system, SAR direction finder plus a number of other sensors and communication equipment. The mission system handles all sensors and selects data to be provided through a high speed INMARSAT data link with a bandwidth of 128 kBit/s to the coordination center on the ground.

The development of the solution and the integration of these systems as offered by Aerodata clearly reflects their strength as experts in the aviation industry. Undoubtedly, through the new asset, the AFM will be at the forefront when participating in joint border control operations, and substantially enhance its contribution to the EU agency FRONTEX's activities.

As prime contractor, Aerodata will also design all modifications to the KingAir B200 aircraft to achieve an EASA STC. Furthermore, Aerodata will modify the aircraft at its facility at Braunschweig airport. As a supplement to the electronic equipment on the aircraft, bubble windows and a drop hatch will be fitted to achieve high performance for the SAR mission.

Recently, Aerodata has been approved as Service Center for all KingAir models by Hawker Beechcraft. Thus, Aerodata as a prime contractor is able to provide all aircraft and mission system warranty and maintenance work. In addition, Aerodata will provide training for pilots, aircraft mechanics and mission systems operators.

Photo: Alfred AZZOPARDI
Mr Stahl, President of Aerodata AG and Brigadier Vassallo, Commander Armed Forces of Malta signing the contract.



Press Notice:

Signature of contract
EU external border fund
Procurement of a maritime patrol aircraft


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01 October 2009



As part of the fleet modernization campaign and enhancement of border control capabilities the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) embarked on a project for the procurement of a fixed wing maritime patrol aircraft. The aim behind this project is to provide the AFM with a more deployable, cost-efficient and technology-based operational air capability. This project will provide a more capable Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) which will be deployed on border control missions beyond the territorial seas and the contiguous zone in order to detect, identify and coordinate operations in case of unauthorised crossing at the external borders of the EU.

The complete package which was procured through an open tender process included the aircraft complete with equipment, training of personnel and a service and support agreement. The project is being financed under the framework of External Borders Fund (Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows managed by the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs) with a 75% financing component from the EU and a 25% financing component from the Local Government. The MPA is expected to be delivered February 2011. 

  Press Notice:

Signature of contract
EU external border fund
Procurement of a maritime patrol aircraft


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01 October 2009



The captain of a Greek registered merchant vessel, was during the night
urgently medically evacuated to hospital from the Hurd Bank, where the ship
was anchored.

Through its ships' agent, the MV Archangelo Gabriel informed the Armed
forces of Malta's Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Luqa Barracks, that the
vessel's 42-year old Greek skipper, Captain Boufis Theodoros, was suffering
from severe stomach pains onboard.

An Italian Air Force AB212 rescue-helicopter was sent to the Hurd Bank, and
conveyed the casualty to Mater Dei Hospital for urgent treatment.

  Health-Related: Marine