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1 Regiment Maltese Infantry

Armed Forces of MaltaThe Armed Forces of Malta, with a total of 1,950 personnel in 2015, consists of a Force Headquarters and five separate units - three land units, an air wing and a maritime squadron. The AFM also have a Reserve Force and an Emergency Volunteer Reserve Force.

On land, 1 Regiment is the designated home of the Maltese Infantry with C (Special Duties) Company being at the cutting edge of this unit. The company is being trained and equipped to be able to contribute a platoon for overseas humanitarian and rescue missions attached to an Italian regiment on missions mandated by the UN or the OSCE. Malta has to ensure that the troops are adequately trained and equipped up to Italian army standards for seamless integration within an Italian regiment, able to tackle any foreseeable problems for up to a year. C (Special Duties) Company is also being geared for a quick reaction role, ready for action at a moments notice should an emergency, such as terrorism, arise

The kit used by the Maltese foot soldier has changed drastically in recent years. The fiat for change was given to C Company prior to its successful participation in the multi-national Partnership for Peace exercise in 1996. Following Maltas pledge towards the EUs Military Headline Goal in 2000, procurement received another boost.

With funding being a perennialproblem, over the years the Force had to rely on varied equipment transferred or financed by several countries. Standardisation was a headache. But matters have improved considerably, especially with regard to light infantry weapons. At one time there were as many as eight different types of pistol and associated ammunition, now there are two, principally the Beretta FS and some Makarov. The army has also bought Heckler and Koch sub-machine guns and, thanks to Chinese assistance, all infantrymen now have their own individual AKM rifle.

The Maltese Infantry soldier is equipped with the latest British Army issue Personal Load Bearing Equipment including both the webbing and bergen as well as the woodland pattern battle dress uniform, Avon S10 respirator and Kevlar ballistic helmet. Protective ballistic vests and night vision goggles are carried when required.

Infantry soldiers have a number of weapons at their disposal including the Kalashnikov AK-47 and AKM rifles, the Heckler and Koch MP 5 sub-machine guns, the Beretta 92 FS pistols, the PKM machine gun, as well as the General Purpose Machine Gun L7A1. Sniper teams are equipped with the Accuracy International sniper rifle while the anti-tank troops embedded within the infantry platoons carry the RPG-7 rocket launcher.

Eight-man sections are deployed either on Landrovers or Iveco VM-90 trucks.The AFM also operates a number of Bedford trucks which, despite their age, still give excellent service. Suffice to say that these trucks were driven in convoys all the way to Kosovo and back three times in 2001 and not one of them broke down. The Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit is equipped with two remote controlled Explosive Ordnance Disposal Vehicles robots used to disable a bomb from a safe distance. The first was bought in 1989 and a second, much more sophisticated one, was bought last year.

The Air Defence Battery forms part of 2nd Regiment and operates Bofors 40L/70 anti-aircraft guns (top centre) and four barrelled ZSU-4 heavy machine guns (middle centre). The Bofors guns can be operated either manually or electrically and they can be laid on their targets either visually or through radar. The 14.5mm machine guns can only be operated manually but they provide a high rate of fire. Air defence posed particular problems because of the passage of time on the Bofors guns, built in the early 1950s. The hope is that Malta will find foreign help for the acquisition of shoulder-held anti-aircraft missile launchers, a development which will mean more effectiveness while requiring fewer men than for the heavy guns.



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