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Bids reopened on modernizing firefighting planes

By Associated Press
Published On: Oct 09 2012 08:32:55 AM MDT
Updated On: Oct 09 2012 12:27:17 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The U.S. Forest Service is reopening bids for the next-generation of firefighting planes after two companies protested the initial award.

The $261 million, five-year contract was originally awarded to Missoula-based Neptune Aviation. It would have modernized the private fleet of large air tankers that drop retardant slurry on forest fires.

Canada-based Coulson Aviation and 10 Tanker of Victorville, Calif., challenged the Forest Service's contracting process in August.

The Forest Service rejected bids from jumbo-jet companies like 10 Tanker and for water-scooper planes that don't use retardant.

Neptune president Dan Snyder tells the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/WMiod70 the company received notice Friday the contract would be reposted with 31 amendments.

He says he is not yet sure what the Forest Service wants Neptune to do differently.