Malta Armed Forces Receive Third King Air

The Times of Malta reported this week that Malta’s Armed Forces took delivery of a King Air maritime patrol aircraft (B200) and a bomb disposal robot.

The cost of the delivery was €16 million (a little over $18 million US) and was co-financed by the European Union (EU). It is the third King Air B200 to be operated by the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM). Two other King Air were received in 2011 and 2012 and a new hangar was constructed, specifically for fixed wing aircraft.

Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela led the commissioning ceremony. He noted in his speech that the AFM has received €70 million (a little under $79 million US) in investment co-financed by EU funds. The funds has allowed Malta to significantly modernize the Air Wing, Maritime Squadron. The King Air have improved situational awareness with maritime domain operations with the craft’s advanced navigational capabilities, according to Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta.

Malta, a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, has a population of just under 450,000 people in a 122 square mile space (Wikipedia). Due to its central placement, illegal immigration is not uncommon and must be monitored. Additional responsibilities of the aircraft will be fisheries protection and search and rescue operations.

AFM fixed wing pilots and technical personnel receive their basic configuration King Air B200 training at Flight Safety International training facilities in Wichita, Kansas. At the facility, the pilots utilize an all-moving simulator. Additional specialized training occurs at the Braunschweig facility of Aerodata to learn maritime patrol configuration. Training includes use of the electro optical and infra red camera, 360 degree belly-mounted search radar, direction finding equipment and various other communications and surveillance systems.



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