Friday, October 02, 2015

USFS announces next gen 2.0 airtanker contract awards

No doubt some of you reading this are already aware that the U.S Forest Service announced yesterday that they have awarded exclusive use contracts to Aero Flite, Neptune Aviation Services, and 10 Tanker Air Carrier starting later this year for seven Next Generation Large Airtankers. This is a five-year exclusive use contract with single-year options for five additional years bringing the total to ten years. According to the U.S. Forest Service Press Release,
The new Exclusive Use contracts for Next Generation Airtankers will go to:
  • Aero-Flite, Inc., Spokane, Washington – 2 Avro RJ85s
  • Neptune Aviation Services, Inc., Missoula, Montana – 4 BAe-146s
  • 10 Tanker Air Carrier, LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico – 1 DC-10
This will bring the total number of Next Generation Airtankers currently under Exclusive Use contract with the Forest Service to 14. 
An article from the Montana based Missoulian annoucing the award may be found here.

As usual, Bill Gabbert of Fire Aviation provided excellent coverage of this award in an article he posted on October, 1, 2015. I thought that he made an excellent point about past protests of these types of contracts, wondering if this award might be protested, Gabbert says:
Most of the contracts the U.S. Forest Service has attempted to issue in recent years for large and very large air tankers have been protested, which suspends the activation of the contract until the Government Accountability Office adjudicates the dispute. This contract has already been protested by Coulson Aviation and Erickson Aero Tanker even before the closing date of the solicitation. However, the GAO decided in July to deny the protests. But that does not mean that there will not be additional protests now that the contracts have been awarded.
Time will tell.

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