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New AFM patrol aircraft rolled out

Picture - Mark A. Said/ A.F.M. Air Wing

The new maritime patrol aircraft of the Armed Forces of Malta was rolled out at Hawker Beechcraft's facilities in Wichita, Kansas, USA last week. The B200 aircraft, serial numbered BB2016, is now undergoing flight and systems testing by the company before being flown to Germany.

Once there, Aerodata AG in Braunschweig will fit the aircraft with the Telephonics Corporation's RDR-1700B maritime surveillance and imaging radar, besides other mission related electronics before being delivered to the AFM's Air Wing early in February next year.

This belly mounted search radar provides full 360 degree coverage of the marine environments - vastly increasing the AFM's current capabilities.

The King Air B200 aircraft, being partially financed through the EU External Borders Fund, is a highly successful twin engine turboprop utility aircraft that has been in production in various models since 1972, with over 3,500 of the type now in service all over the world. The AFM's version of the aircraft features a fully digital cockpit, increased maximum take off weight, and specialised surveillance and communications equipment to perform the maritime patrol mission.

Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 turboprops, producing 850 shp each, the B-200 can cruise at over 300 mph and has a service ceiling of 35,000 ft.

AFM Officers present for the roll out, and who flew in the aircraft during the acceptance flight, reported that the aircraft was a delight to fly and is was a marvel of engineering and technology.

The AFM currently operates two Islander twin-engined aircraft, a number of Bulldog single-engined trainer aircraft and Alouette helicopters.

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Comments

Dr. I. X. Gatt(16 hours, 35 minutes ago)
Well done. It shall most certainly be the pride and joy of the AFM's air arm.
God speed to all pilot's, crew and technicians.
Franco J Scicluna(1 day, 2 hours ago)
Hello PN Parliamenterians when will Gozo have its air strip? Never ?? ok PL, its your turn now. I hope that Dr. Joseph Muscat's pledge to seriously study this possibility will get going soon.It wil lbe a feather in the PL's cap.
Kenny Attard(1 day, 5 hours ago)
As a Maltese-American it makes me proud that this was built in the U.S. In response to C Callus a couple of F-15's would be nice....
R Dimech(1 day, 6 hours ago)
Raymond Mamo(20 hours ago)
@George Pisani - Even the cap badge of the AFM is a vestige of the Royal Malta Artillery. One has to understand the early 70's to come to grips why The Royal Malta Artillery is taken as a beacon for the AFM. By the way, not having any cavalry (armoured) regiments, AFM officers on ceremonial duty wear spurs.
George Pisani(10 hours, 21 minutes ago)
Thank you for the infor I left Malta in 61, my father was in the RMA. So who knows, one day, we will call white white and black black.
@Raymond Mamo artillery officers wear spurs as well.
Thank you
R Dimech(1 day, 6 hours ago)
@ George Pisani - The only reason the AFM have retained these artillery ranks is because the present AFM has its origins and is a direct descendant of the Royal Malta Artillery. But you do have a point and I agree with most of your comments. But please appreciate that Malta has a unified defence force and all 'services' are an offshoot of the army. It took a lot of effort and persuasion, for example, before the Maritime Squadron personnel acquired their own distinctive uniform!
R Grixti(1 day, 3 hours ago)
A few years ago AFM's air assets were registered under the civil registry.... and yet things change.

I think it's about time that Malta's forces and order of battle are revised, IMHO.
Anthony A. Mifsud(18 hours, 57 minutes ago)
I fully agree, with R.Dimech.

Hence is it high time we start calling white white? or we just carry on with what we have inherited?
Tony RAF
George Pisani(1 day, 9 hours ago)
So now that the AFM have new aircraft beside new boats, isn't time that Malta have an Army, Navy and Air force.
As a Gunner in the Australian Artillery, I really get upset when you call your junior NCOs 'Bombardiers, Lance Bombardiers, and the privates Gunners. These ranks are reserved for the Artillery not the Infantry, or the Sailors, or the Airman.
As the AFM seem to grow, as it should, let it also grow by calling solider by the correct rank. Privates Gunners, Troopers, etc.. etc.. Lets call all seafarers of the AFM sailors and aircrew Airman.
God bless the AFM
victor rodenas(1 day, 9 hours ago)
A very nice plane,two engines are better than one.......Now the gozo air-strip should be lengthened and we get an air ferry which we badly need to cross over in stormy weather or when we are in a hurry.A plane like that seems ok......who agrees?
Jesmond Micallef(1 day, 9 hours ago)
Aha, so now we have progressed onto an instrumented runway, then.. !!
lgalea(1 day, 4 hours ago)
victor rodenas Forget your Gozo Airfield for it has now become an airfield. How long before wanting to extend it for jumbos rodenas?
Wayne Hewitt(1 day, 10 hours ago)
Come on guys. High time we get some real aircraft
Adrian Cachia(1 day, 6 hours ago)
That is a proper aircraft.
Jesmond Micallef(1 day, 5 hours ago)
This aircraft type is in service with the RAF and the USAF just to mention a couple of military users, in addition to the countless examples flying under civil registration across the world.
Adrian Cachia(1 day, 5 hours ago)
@Jesmond Micallef - Just to clarify I was not being ironic...that aircraft is widely used as you are saying and I am sure we have quite a modern version. It's nicer in the white / blue or red stripes however. That green colour makes it look like a piece of junk and maybe our friend Wayne here was deceived by the appearance :)
JAFarrugia(1 day, 10 hours ago)
Good investment, now get some new search an rescue choppers, the Aloutte's have done their time. a Sea King or Dauphin would be a great addition to the air wing.
Henry Spiteri(1 day, 4 hours ago)
The Sea King helicopter is old now and is being phased out from air arms around Europe apart from being expensive to operate.Its replacement is either the SH-60 known as the Sea Hawk or the EH101 known as the Merlin.
Kevin Zammit(1 day, 10 hours ago)
Finally! a brand new aircraft instead of some hand me down :)

I think it is only fair that the proper investment is made if we want our shores to be patrolled properly ...
C Callus(1 day, 9 hours ago)
I don't know but i think a helicopter, especially the Sea King requires very regular maintenance that is rather expensive.

How about a couple of F-15s guv?
Jesmond Micallef(1 day, 11 hours ago)
A milestone in the history of the AFM, of course. Cool !! All the best to the Air Wing of the AFM.
Alexander Dalli(1 day, 10 hours ago)
All the best!

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