AFM teams in Frontex patrols off Spain
AFM teams have returned from Spain where they participated in Frontex anti human smuggling patrols between Spain, Algeria and Morocco.
The AFM deployed one of the newly commissioned King Air aircraft for the operation.
Col Emanuel Mallia, head of operations, said the AFM teams had been praised for their service, having helped to detect a number of small boats involved in human trafficking and in smuggling. They also helped in the rescue of a number of migrants who were at risk of drowning.
The AFM aircrews flew for an average of four hours every day for most of October, making full use of their aircraft's modern radar and infra-red and heat detection equipment to find their targets and coordinate operations. The aircraft was based in Malaga.
The operation came some weeks after 42 soldiers, mostly from the AFM's 'C' Company took part in another Frontex operation, Operation Poseidon, patrolling a section of the land border between Turkey and Greece, also against human trafficking.
The AFM has been taking part in the ongoing Operation Poseidon for a number of years.
Col Mallia said such operations helped the AFM sharpen its skills and improve its coordination with other military services.
He said the recent acquisition of the King Air maritime patrol aircraft had considerably improved AFM capabilities, and they would be improved further with the acquisition of new helicopters to replace the Alouettes.