Developed as a concept in support of a US Army request for a Low Cost Battlefield Attack Aircraft (LCBAA), the Scaled Composites ARES
Scaled Composites Model 151 Agile Responsive Effective Support (ARES)
The Agile Responsive Effective Support (ARES) is a full-scale proof-of-concept demonstrator that was developed as a concept in support of a U.S. Army request for a Low Cost Battlefield Attack Aircraft (LCBAA). Built as a pitch to replace the A-10 Warthog in the early 1990s, ARES is a highly manueverable, turbofan powered experimental aircraft. The LCBAA design goals were low-altitude, anti-tank, battlefield support with long endurance, and capable of operating outside of improved airfields environment.
The preliminary requirements for the LCBAA aircraft formulated the main purpose to combat helicopters; secondary - providing direct support to ground forces; additional - advanced air guidance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare. However, the work on the program did not receive further development at that time, which can partly be explained by the disinterest of industry in the implementation of relatively simple and inexpensive programs.
Since 1985, in an atmosphere of secrecy, the British company "BAe" under a contract with the country's Ministry of Defense had been conducting research to find the appearance of a light maneuverable front-line fighter SABA ( Small Agile Battlefield Aircraft), designed to destroy helicopters over the battlefield. Several variants of the aircraft layout and power plant were studied, including a single-seat double-boom aircraft and two tailless aircraft with a delta wing, but ultimately an aircraft with a gearless high-pressure air drive and a 12—18 blades. The SABA program did not leave the stage of conceptual studies, and there were no reports of plans to build a full-scale aircraft.
Rutan began development of the ARES aircraft in the late 1980s on a proactive basis, using the experience of participating in the LCBAA program. In addition to solving the problem of combating almost all existing helicopters, it was supposed to be used for direct aviation support, patrolling borders, participating in operations to combat drug trafficking, ultralight aircraft, and in a two-seat version - for advanced aviation guidance and as a training tool.
ARES is a canard design with a double swept wing along the leading edge and rounded tips. The front horizontal tail has a negative sweep. Wing - no flaps. The vertical tail is two-keeled, the keels are located on the beams carried back behind the wing. The fuselage axis is displaced 76 cm to the right relative to the wing symmetry plane. The aircraft structure is made of fiberglass by more than 50 percent by weight. The control surfaces and parts of the structure located near the gun are made of fiberglass and Kevlar. The aircraft cockpit is one-seater, pressurized to protect against weapons of mass destruction, with a good view forward - downward and to the sides, with an ejection seat.
The cabin is armored with Kevlar. The aircraft control system is booster-free. The hydraulics are only used to extend and retract the landing gear and air brakes. Large brake flaps are installed in the root tail of the wing, between the beams and ailerons. The aircraft is powered by a Pratt-Whitney by-pass turbojet engineJT 15- D -5 with 1340 kgf thrust and electronic fuel control system. The engine is installed at an angle relative to the fuselage axis. The exhaust is bent to "align" the thrust line. The air intake is located in the upper part on the left side of the fuselage, at a great distance from the muzzle of the gun, which prevents powder gases from entering the engine.
In the future, it would be possible to install an engine with a higher thrust. ARES was armed with a General Electric GAU -12 U cannoncaliber 25 mm with 220 rounds of ammunition installed on the right side of the fuselage. The adopted layout eliminates the yaw response of the aircraft, which can lead to unstable engine operation when firing a cannon. In addition, the armament may include air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles A1M-9 Sidewinder. In the central part of the fuselage there is a compartment to accommodate the target load, including various sensors and equipment for photographic reconnaissance. Access to the compartment is provided through a hatch located on the right side of the fuselage.
ARES has flown more than 430 hours, and demonstrated all of its design performance and handling qualities goals, including departure-free handling at full aft stick. During November of 1991, tests of the GAU-12/U gun system installed in ARES were performed, with outstanding results. Movie buffs may also remember the ARES in its role as the secret ME-263 jet in the screen classic Iron Eagle III. ARES is currently being used as a research test bed and is available for future projects.
|Wingspan, m||10.0 / 35 feet|
|Length, m||9.0 / (8.97 m) 29 ft 5.25 in|
|Wingspan||35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)|
|Wing area||188.3 sq ft (17.49 m2)|
|Height, m ??||3.0 / 9 ft 10 in|
|Empty weight||2,884 lb (1,308 kg)|
|Gross weight||4,804 lb (2,179 kg)|
|Max Takeoff weight, t||2,767-2,800 kg / 6,100-6,500 pounds|
|Powerplant||1 × Pratt & Whitney JT15D turbofan, 2,950 lbf (13.1 kN) thrust|
|Thrust/weight||0.43 (at maximum weight)|
|Maximum speed at the ground, km / h||650|
|Cruising speed, km / h||555|
|Maximum speed||466 mph (750 km/h, 405 kn) (TAS) at 25,000 feet (7,600 m)|
|maximum altitude||35,000 feet (10,670 m)|
|Combat range||690 mi (1,100 km, 600 nmi)|
| Angular rate of steady turn|
(in combat configuration),
| 10.6 deg/s (maximum steady-state speed turning|
one of the most maneuverable fighters of the
US Air Force F-16C (in combat configuration)