MILAN (AP) -- The Italian navy has placed a 3.5 billion euro ($3.9 billion) order for six patrol boats capable of high seas rescues and a support ship as part of a program to upgrade its fleet.
Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said in a statement Thursday the order "has significant geo-political implications with the re-launch of Italy's role in the Mediterranean."
The orders were placed with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and defense firm Finmeccanica.
The patrol boats are 129 meters (423 feet) long and require a crew of 171 people. Fincantieri said the boats are versatile and can be used for sea rescues, civil protection operations as well as combat. The first patrol boat will be delivered in 2021.
Fincantieri's part of the contract is valued at 2.3 billion euros.