The sale of 22 Gripen fighter jets from Sweden to Switzerland was confirmed on Tuesday for a price of more than 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.1 billion).
The first delivery will take place in mid-2018, with all 22 planes to be delivered by 2021 at a cost of 3.126 billion Swiss francs.
“The negotiations were tough,” said Christian Catrina, who represented Switzerland in the deal, according to the TT news agency.
The deal for the Gripen E/F -- or Super JAS -- planes was officially signed on Tuesday afternoon, with Ulf Hammarström of the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency (Försvarsexportmyndigheten - FXM) positive about the exchange.
“We are pleased with this agreement, which will be of great benefit to the countries' defence forces,” he said.
Switzerland is expected to pay a first installment in January 2014 of 300 million francs.
The move to buy the planes was hotly contested in Switzerland where the parliamentary security commission found that the "choice of jet made by the Federal Council carries the most risks: technically, commercially, financially and in respect of the delivery date", Swiss news agency ATS reported.
The members of the commission, all appointed by the Swiss parliament's National Council of representatives, nonetheless voted 16 to 9 against demanding that ministers put a halt to the deal.
Sweden intends to purchase between 40 and 60 of the jets.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Pending delivery of its new Gripen Es in 2018, Switzerland will lease 11 Gripen C/Ds (eight single-seat Gripen Cs and three two-seat Gripen Ds) from the Swedish air force.
The lease is planned over five years, beginning in 2016, and will cost 44 million Swiss francs per year, which Swiss Defence Minister Ueli Maurer was quick to note is just 10 million francs more than the country currently spends on operating the obsolete F-5E Tiger IIs that the Gripen will replace.
The acquisition deal’s 3.12 billion franc price-tag includes, in addition to the 22 Gripen E single-seaters, their weapons package, including MBDA Meteor air-to-air missiles, an AESA radar, a new-generation electronic warfare suite, training and logistic package.
This price is firm, includes research and development costs and a Swedish government guarantee of price, performance and operational suitability.
Sweden will receive its first Gripen Es in in the second quarter of 2018, shortly before Switzerland.
The deal must still be approved by the countries’ parliaments. The Swiss government will submit its acquisition plant by Nov. 9, and national procedures are to be completed by June 2013. If no referendum is required, the contract should be signed in the fall of 2013, but a referendum would delay this to mid-2014, without delaying initial deliveries.)