1800 -

Maltese Light Infantry battalion formed, under the command of Brigadier General Thomas Graham as part of the British Army.

1802 -

Previous battalion disbanded and succeeded by the Maltese Provincial Battalions, the Malta Coast Artillery and the Maltese Veterans.

1815 -

Royal Malta Fencible Regiment succeeded the previous three units.

1861 -

Regiment became known as the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery.

1889 -

New Regiment set up: Royal Malta Artillery (RMA).


RMA played a major part in the defence of Malta during the War.


1st Regiment RMA served with distinction in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).

1970 -

RMA becomes Malta Land Force (MLF) and becomes the responsibility of the Government of Malta.

1973 -

Armed Forces of Malta (AFM). New responsibilities included the raising of the Malta Pioneer Corps and the Dirghajn il-Maltin. These two labour corps were replaced by the Dejma Corps which existed from 1981 - 1989.

1980 - 1988

The AFM is divided into two separate units known as the AFM and the Task Force, each commanded by a colonnel, without an overall army commander.


The two units were re-amalgamated into the AFM under the command of a Brigadier.

There are close to to a total of 1,900 men and officers in the AFM with another 1,000 on the waiting list. Recruits are usually taken in 100 in a go and the number of applicants has been on the increase these last years. The AFM has about 70 regular officers, and are headed by a brigadier.

There are three regiments, each around the size of a battalion and each commanded by a lieutenant colonel.

The 1st Regiment is established as an infantry battalion with three rifle companies and a support company; the 2nd Regiment consists of a Maritme Squadron, an Air squadron, and an Air defence Battery; and the 3rd regiment includes an Engineer Squadron, an Ammunition & Explosives Company, the Revenue Security Corps (RSC) and other logistics services.


In April, 1800 Brigadier General Thomas Graham raised the first official embodiment of Maltese troops in the British Army, which became known as the Maltese Light Infantry. This battalion of men was disbanded in 1802 and succeeded by the Maltese Provincial Battalions, the Malta Coast Artillery and the Maltese Veterans.

In 1815, Lieut. Col. Count Francis Rivarola was entrusted with the task of raising the Royal Fencible Regiment following the disbandment of the Provincials, Veterans and Coast Artillery. The Royal Malta Fencible Regiment was converted to an artillery regiment in 1861 and became known as the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery. Twenty eight years later the worthy predecessors of the Armed Forces of Malta came into existence following the formation of the Royal Malta Artillery on the 23rd of March, 1889.

The Royal Malta Artillery, more widely known as the RMA, is famed for the part it played during the siege of Malta during the Second World War. 1st Regiment RMA served in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) from 1962 to early 1970.

By 1970, the responsibility for the Royal Malta Artillery (incorporating also the Royal Engineers[Malta) devolved on the Malta Government; thus, the long association with the British Army came to an end. Redesignated as the Malta Land Force, besides its military duties, it was also responsible for the administration of the Emergency Labour Corps which came into existence in May, 1972 and disbanded in 1973.

On the 19th of April, 1973 the Malta Land Force became known as the Armed Forces of Malta. New responsibilities were taken on -- the Armed Forces of Malta strength grew to over eight thousand men with the raising and formation of the Malta Pioneer Corps and Dirghajn il-Maltin, in addition to the regular element. These Corps in turn were followed by the Dejma Corps between June 1981 to 31st December, 1989, whose members were enlisted on a short service engagement. Suffice to say that over 15,000 men and women served in the three corps over a period of sixteen years.

On the 1st April, 1980 the regular element of the Armed Forces of Malta was separated into two forces under separate command -- the Armed Forces of Malta and the Task Force. All military roles and responsibilities being shared accordingly. These were then re-amalgamated on 11th May, 1988 under the command of a brigadier.

From the above, one has an idea of the versatile Maltese soldier, steeped in military tradition with the capability of applying himself to any role required or assigned. A soldier who has always served and honoured his country in both piece and war.


Maritime Squadron:

9 patrol boats: 1 Italian Diciotti class, 2 US Protector class, 4 Austal Patrol boats, 2 Italian SAR cutters.

Air Squadron:

Alouette III 316B helicopters, Cessna Bird Dog aircraft, Islander Pilatus aircraft.

Air Defence Battery:

Bofors L40/70, ZPU-4 14.5mm AAMGs, Racal-Marine Bridgemaster coatsal surveillance radar

Light arms:

AK-47 Kalshnikov assault rifles cal.7.62mm , FN FAL & SLR cal.7.62mm rifles, pistols Browning HP &Taurus PT-92 ca.l. 9mm, Sterling & Beretta M-12 cal. 9mm SMGs.

Other: .50 cal. Browning cal. 12.7mm, 81 mm mortars, RPG -7V

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last modified: July 2009