MANY YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE MALTESE NATION
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 between July 1988 to date.
1973 - 1979
After a technical co-operation project between the Italian and
Maltese Governments, the 'Missione Italiana d'Assistenza
was established in on 27 July, 1973. This was made up of a group
of Officers and Non-commissioned Officers (NCOs) who had the task
to train the personnel in the Malta Pioneer Corps in public works,
improving local and international telecommunications networks
pertaining to telegraph and telephone, and in the maintenance/
repair of government transportation assets.
The Italian Military Mission (IMM), as it became known, was withdrawn
in 1979 upon the request of the Maltese Government. Amongst the
completed major projects at this time were:
1981 - 1989
When a new agreement was reached in 1981 between Governments,
which involved the ratification of the financial protocol between
the two countries, two organizations were set up: the Italian
delegation for Tecno-technical assistance (with a commitment to
assist Maltese military personnel and to collaborate in public
works) and the Italian Technical Co-operation Mission that was
tasked with Search and Rescue (SAR) and helicopter pilot and technicians'
training, along with training of divers, workshop supervisors,
Dockyard heavy plant operators, land survey/mapping experts and
physical fitness instructors.
Their work was suspended during the crisis in relations between
Malta and Italy, that is between 4th December, 1984 and 16th September,
1985. Only SAR operations continued without interruption.
This period's work is characterized by the following projects:
1988 to date
On 14th July, 1988, a new memorandum was signed between the Italian
Ministry of Defense and the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This memorandum established that there should be one organization,
the MIATM, that had the commitment to:
A number of joint/combined exercises have been organized between
the AFM and the IMM, and both have worked very well together.
The AFM with the Ministry of Education organizes courses in Military
English for Italian military personnel. A great step forward in
the AFM's C3I system (Command, Control, Communication and Information
System) has been made by providing the AFM's Operations' Center
with a 1,000 watt Italian HF radio and an UHF-radios, used in
recent exercises. An ex-Italian Air Force 'Frecce Tricolori'
acrobatic team G91 aircraft was donated to the Malta Aviation Museum
Foundation of Ta' Qali (same as used by the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic
team). Assistance to the Lascaris War Rooms was provided
with the furnishing of important documents about World War Two.
At present, the IMM is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Current
projects underway include:
IMM personnel resources in Malta total to 12 Officers and 35 NCOs
from the three Service branches of the Italian Armed
It is also equipped with two AB 212 helicopters, 15 heavy plant
vehicles, 60 light all-purpose utility vehicles, radio telecommunications,
and weapons. Shortly other vehicles and equipment are expected
About 10 billion Italian lire have been earmarked for the modernization
of the IMM so as to be better able to meet Maltese needs. In this
perspective, the total value of equipment stationed at present
in Malta is equivalent to 6.5 million Maltese lire with an annual
running cost of 1.5 million lire annually.
Other activities IMM personnel are involved in are:
The IMM's present Commanding Officer (since 2007), is Colonel Giovanni Ormetti.
SAR and overseas training
The Italian Air Force personnel stationed in Malta make use of
equipment pertaining to the 3 FF.AA in the shape of two AB 212
helicopters for SAR missions.
This section of the IMM has taken part in an innumerable amount
of SAR missions, such as the 5-day search for the Maltese yacht
Esmeralda in 1992 that involved searching for four men
lost at sea between the north of Malta and North Africa. Another
in that same year was the 3-day search for the three-man crew
aboard the Maltese fishing vessel Patrun that had a positive
ending to it.
Besides this, the IMM helicopters have been involved in countless
medevacs of patients between the Gozo Craig General Hospital and
St. Luke's Hospital in Malta. The IMM has always been actively
involved in the training of Maltese helicopter pilots and rescue
This effort embraced training for other Maltese soldiers in the
fields of diving, air defense artillery/ radar, and naval workshops'
Various exigencies require that Maltese personnel pursue their
training overseas in specialized schools and establishments in
Italy. Such training includes officer-cadet schooling, aircraft
technician courses, fixed-wing pilot training, radar technician
courses, anti Nuclear-Biological-Chemical warfare courses, and
diver/firefighting training for Police personnel.
The media and common Maltese citizens give great attention and
importance to the SAR operations and other works the IMM perform.
Though not so publicized, there is great appreciation for the
IMM's civil commitment, particularly from Government authorities.
CLICK to view "HISTORY OF THE A.F.M. - The First 25 Years", issued by the A.F.M.
CLICK to view Chronological History of the A.F.M.
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Last updated: July 2007