The AFM performs two main defence roles designated as 'primary' and 'secondary' defence roles.
Primary Defence Roles:
•Maintain territorial integrity (particularly at the Malta International Airport and other sensitive locations).
•Maintain integrity of Maltese waters (physical and electronic surveillance against smuggling, illegal trafficking of immigrants and other illicit activities at sea by conducting Maritime Law Enforcement)
•Contribute towards international peace and stability by participating overseas crisis management operations.
•Provide for the surveillance of the Maltese Airspace.
•Provide Search and Rescue services over Maltese territorial waters and the Search and Rescue region.
•Provide Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) cover.
 Secondary Defence Roles:
•Provide civil emergency protection support
•Provide military aid to the Police and the Security Service
•Provide State Ceremonial and Other Public Support Duties.