The Indian Navy has signed a contract with Sri Lanka-based SOLAS Marine for the procurement of 80 fast interception craft (FIC) as part of an exercise to strengthen its coastal security.

The Rs3,000m ($66.1m) contract process is in its final stages and the deal is expected to be finalised soon.

The FICs have a speed between 45mph and 50mph, and can accommodate four to five crew members, according to Press Trust of India.

The boats would be deployed for coastal security duties that include engaging any suspicious vessel or activity and to protect vital assets and installations along coastal areas.

The navy had earlier placed an order worth Rs600m ($13.2m) for 15 such boats last year with French shipyard Chantier Naval Couach.

Delivery of the first 15 FICs is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, of which three boats have been already inducted, and the next 80 would be inducted in the coming 36 months.