A JAS 39  "Gripen" in flight. (Media credit/Arnaud Gaillard)

A JAS 39 “Gripen” in flight. (Media credit/Arnaud Gaillard)

Sweden confirmed the sale of 22 Saab JAS 39 “Gripen” fighter jets to Switzerland in a deal worth more than 3 billion Swiss francs or $3.1 billion.

“The negotiations were tough,” said Swiss representative Christian Catrina, to the TT news agency.

The first delivery of these next-generation Gripen E/F “Super JAS” fighters is expected to occur in mid-2018.

The sale has been controversial. Swiss officials had rated the Gripen lower than its competitors, the French Rafale and the Eurofighter “Typhoon.” But the Swedish plane is substantially cheaper than the other options, and that appears to have been a major factor in the purchase.