MISSOULA -- 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 said the company received notice on Friday that the contract would be reposted with 31 amendments.
He says he is not yet sure what the Forest Service wants Neptune to do differently.