Air Wing, MQR ('Midalja Għal Qadi tar-Repubblika')

Air Wing, MQR ('Midalja Għal Qadi tar-Repubblika')

Located in the Military Zone (Apron 7) at Malta International Airport, the AFM's Air Wing, MQR is the aerial component of the Force. The Wing lends itself to all deployments of air assets in various roles and missions in order to maintain the territorial integrity of the Maltese Islands.

This is achieved by fulfilling roles such as:


·       Maritime Surveillance,

·       Border Control Missions,

·       Search and Rescue on land and at sea,

·       Maritime Law Enforcement and Interdiction,

·       MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation),

·       CASEVAC (Casualty Evacuation),

·       VIP & military conveyances,

·       Reconnaissance, including Aerial photography & filming,

·       Security escort overwatch,

·       Transportation and quick deployment of troops,

·       Other military activities including limited fire support.​


Air Wing personnel and assets are ready to deploy on a 24/7 basis as instructed by the AFM's Joint Operations Centre or Rescue Coordination Centre Malta, depending on the task. Air Wing, MQR is made up of four sub-Units, namely:


Ø  Wing HQ

Ø  Headquarters Squadron

Ø  Operations Squadron

Ø  Support Squadron​

Wing Headquarters

The Air Wing’s Wing Headquarters is tasked with command, control, and coordination of the Unit's Squadrons, in order to ensure readiness to respond to various operational requirements, both locally and overseas. The Wing HQ Officers, Wing Sergeant Major and Wing IC Logistics promulgate the Unit’s direction in both ‘A’ & ‘Q’ matters, through each Squadron HQ which consists of an Officer Commanding (OC), Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM) and Clerks. The Air Wing's Commanding Officer (CO) is Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Grech, AFM.

Headquarters Squadron
          The Headquarters Squadron provides logistical and service support to the other sub-units of the AFM Air Wing, MQR. The HQ Squadron, apart from its own dedicated Squadron HQ, is further sub-divided into five sub-sections:


                 i.         Quartermaster (Logistics & Procurement) Section

                ii.         Wing Armoury

               iii.        Canteen Section

               iv.        Motor Transport Section

                v.        Base Maintenance Section​

Although the smallest sub-unit of the Wing, HQ Squadron is responsible for providing day-to-day routine support such as transport for all Unit jobs, logistics procurement, and other administration required for the Unit's daily duties and commitments. The Quartermaster (Logistics & Procurement) Section is tasked with processing all requisition orders required by the Unit including stocking up of all aircraft spare parts and consumable stores. The Wing Armoury stores all Air Wing firearms including any aircraft-mountable weaponry systems and provides First-Line Maintenance. The Canteen personnel ensure that all members have access to a hot meal during the long hours on base during their respective duty rota. The Motor Transport Section sees to maintaining and providing transport for all the Unit as required. Like every other base in the AFM, daily barracks conservation and repairs are required to ensure adequate upkeep, which is taken care of by the Base Maintenance Section.​

Operations Squadron

This is the operative element of the Unit, which fulfils the function of Air Wing and is divided into four sub sections, in addition to its own Squadron HQ and Flight Records, as follows:

   i.         Fixed Wing Section

 Handles all fixed wing (aeroplane) operations which include, but not limited to, coastal and offshore patrolling, surveillance operations, sighting and reporting of irregular migration at sea and interdiction, fisheries patrols, VIP conveyances and several other varied flight duties as tasked​

    i.         Rotary Wing Section

Handles all rotary wing (helicopter) operations, ranging from coastal and offshore patrolling, Maritime Interdiction Operations and Law Enforcement, offshore casualty evacuation, Search and Rescue, as well as air ambulance service if required. Rotary Wing Section performs other roles such as support to troops on the ground and conveyances of personnel, whilst also being able to provide assistance to other government entities as required, such as VIP conveyances.



  i.         Helicopter Rescue Swimmers Section

The Helicopter Rescue Swimmers Section comprises of highly motivated soldiers and airmen, capable of performing all kinds of rescues on land or out at sea mainly deploying from one of the Rotary Wing assets, hence the aptly named section. Each rescuer is qualified in advanced first aid, lifesaving techniques, and other specialist skills such as working at heights and rope access, which ensures a high-level service to any persons in distress. A high level of physical fitness and mental resilience is required to be a part of such a dedicated section of specialised soldiers. 



  i.         Air Operator Section

The Air Operator Section comprises of soldiers who are formed into airmen and specialise in ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) Operations on both Fixed and Rotary Wing assets enabling them to maximise the sensor equipment on the respective aircraft. The Air Operators are responsible for the conduct of all Cabin Operations on-board all the aircraft that the Air Wing fleet encompasses, including the setting up of and the use of firearms from the assets when limited fire support is required.


Support Squadron

Support Squadron provides technical support for all AFM aircraft on inventory to ensure readiness to be scrambled at a moment's notice. The Support Squadron is the largest sub-unit within the Wing, and maintains the Unit’s aircraft types, special tools, and necessary ancillary equipment as needed.

The Support Squadron, apart from its own Suquadron HQ, is further sub-divided into five sub-sections:

                 i.          Airframes & Engineering Section

                ii.         Avionics Section

               iii.        Aircraft Publications & Documentation

               iv.        Ground Crew

                v.        Hangars Area Maintenance & Spray Workshop

Maintenance schedules and procedures are strictly adhered to, so as to ensure a safe flight environment especially during ad-hoc situations and emergency missions.  Varying levels of maintenance work is routinely carried out ranging from relatively simple line inspections to aircraft and engine overhauls, and refurbishment.

The Aircraft Engineers and Technicians perform daily scheduled or unscheduled pre-flight inspections and modifications, to rectify any faults, if any. Technically inclined soldiers are then specialised in either a specific Fixed Wing or Rotary Wing aircraft type due to the immense workload and responsibility that befalls this Section. Some engineers and technicians also form part of flight crews to carry out visual checks in flight, and few are certified to operate sophisticated equipment on board such as hoist operations on helicopters on actual operations should the need arise. 

The Avionics Section employs technical personnel that maintain all aircraft electronic systems onboard. With the huge advancements in technology especially in the aviation world, it goes without saying the immense dedication this section entails to ensure that all aircraft with all their complexities are updated and ready to deploy as per the required parameters and criteria. Whilst most of the downtime is scheduled, the technical expertise of this section is consistently called upon to have the job completed as soon as possible. 

The Ground Crew Section consists of personnel that are responsible for preparing all aircraft and ancillary equipment handling on the ground, emergency firefighting, aircraft marshalling, aircraft towing, aircraft refuelling, and other essential line duties. The Duty Crew Chief oversees all apron movements to ensure safety and efficiency.

The Aircraft Documentation Office keeps track of aircraft airworthiness and availability and prepares the Aircraft Daily State, in addition to updating the maintenance aircraft manuals and virtual libraries. Airworthiness Directives and Service Bulletins are tracked and archived as they become available from various local and overseas aviation authorities, manufacturers, and administrations. All these documents help create the definitive maintenance schedules that must be strictly adhered to in order to ensure a safe flight environment. The office staff track the acquisition of technical manuals and revisions, and prepare the necessary 'Certificate of Airworthiness' inspections of all aircraft. All aircraft documents are signed off by the Chief Engineering Officer who oversees this process.​


On 13 December 2013, the Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta was awarded the 'Midalja Ghal Qadi tar-Repubblika' (MQR) service medal by H.E. Dr George Abela President of Malta.


This was the second time that an AFM Regiment was decorated with this honour in the history of the Armed Forces of Malta.
 Contact Name 
Headquarters AFM
Luqa Barracks
Luqa VLT2000

(+356) 2249 4016