Scaled Composites ARES - The Mudfighter

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ARES Isometric view



Scaled Composites Model 151-3 ARES (Agile Responsive Effective Support), nicknamed the “Mud Fighter”, is Scaled Composites’ response to the US Army’s request for a LCBAA (Low Cost Battlefield Attack Aircraft). LCBAA was a study conducted by US Army aviators Jim Kreutz and Milo Burroughs as they believed that something new was needed to combat newer Soviet Air-to-air helicopter capabilities and that there was an absence of adequate CAS aircraft in the US inventory. They proposed, that instead of a better attack helicopter (Which would become the Apache) the army really needed a fixed-wing aircraft optimized to fly and fight in low-altitude environments. One of the important goals for the design was the resistance to departure from controlled flight, which led them to Burt Rutan then principal of Rutan Aircraft Factory. The original LCBAA design had a turboprop pusher propeller alongside a canard and 30mm chain gun. However, this design was rejected. Still intrigued by the idea, Burt Rutan kept the idea alive within Scaled Composites and when he was able to get assurance of evaluation from officials, got approval for funding to build a demonstrator. As the design matured, the 30mm chain gun was replaced by the 25mm GAU-12/U cannon and the pusher propeller was replaced by a turbofan engine as the propeller was highly susceptible to debris on low quality airfields. The new airplane was designated the Model 151 and got a new acronym, being LATS (Light Attack Turbofan Single)

The ARES first flew in February 19, 1990. Since then it has largely met its performance and handling qualities goals and is still available for use as a research testbed today even after 430 hours of flight.



Crew - 1
Height - 3.30m (10ft 10in)
Length - 871.73cm (28.6ft)
Wingspan - 10.67cm (35ft)
Wing Area - 17.74m^2 (191sq ft)
Fuel Capacity - 1088.62kg (2400lbs)
Range - 1292.80km (1400NM)
Engine - Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5 producing 1315.42kg (13.2kN) (2900lb) of thrust
Maximum Takeoff Weight - 2948.35kg (6500lb)
Empty Weight - 1308kg (2884lb)

Flight performance:
Maximum Altitude - 10668m (35000ft)
Thrust to weight - 0.43 (at maximum weight)
Max Speed near ground - 650km/h
Max Speed @ 7600m (25000ft) - 750km/h (466mph)
Cruising Speed - 555km/h
Load limits - +8/-2G
Corner speed - 390km/h
Stall speed - 145km/h
Instantaneous turn rate @ sea level - 35deg/s average
32deg/s @ 6G
36deg/s @ 7G

1 x 25mm GAU-12U Cannon @ 1200rpm (220 Rounds)
2 x AIM-9L Sidewinder A2A missiles or
4 x AIM-92 Stinger A2A missiles or
2 x 19-tube Hydra-70 rocket pods via LAU-61
Includes a HUD for the cockpit and CCIP for the gun alongside an ejection seat for the pilot

Photo of the GAU-12/U on the ARES firing: (Credit: @EL337GH0ST)

(Planned variants also included a 2-seater version and a version with the GAU-13, A 4 barrel version of the GAU-8 30mm cannon, alongside hellfires and stingers, but these never seemed to have gone beyond paper)

Videos & Images


Official Video:


3 View Image:
ARES Better 3 View Image

Flight Graphs:

Screenshot 2024-03-08 230239

Possible Camouflages:
Photos of the ARES as it appeared in the movie Iron Eagle 3:
ARES black camoflage
ARES IE3 upside
ARES IE3 Side in flight

Photos of the ARES with a military demonstration camouflage: (Credit: @ArcticIceberg )

Photo of the ARES in a desert camouflage: (Credit: @ArcticIceberg )

Various Media:
Capture of the ARES in flight dated 29 July 1990:

Photo of the ARES carrying the specially designed 19-pod 70mm hydra launcher:

Photo of the ARES right after takeoff:

Photo of the ARES from below:
ARES Underside

A rear photo of the ARES flying:

A concept drawing of what a 2-seater version would look like:



ARES Details:
Aviation Archives: Scaled Composites ARES “Mud Fighter”
ARES | Scaled Composites
Scaled Composites Model 151 ARES - attacker
STARGAZER - A unique database on Burt Rutan and his projects!
쿵디담의 다람쥐우리 : 네이버 블로그

Engine Specs:

Feedback and corrections are very much appreciated! :)


Event vehicle?

This has to be one of the ugliest planes I have ever seen.
I want it. +1

Yeah probably since its a vehicle that is a private venture and has a very interesting flight model and armament combination.

It’s like the Addax except it is Smol, American, was built and somehow even more hideous

+1 in a Future US COIN TT

It’s so weird! I love it! +1

Honestly, as far as the question of whether I would want to add this beautiful aircraft to my collection, YES +1

It looks like an aircraft that jumped out of CG, but if you watch this video, this aircraft is really flying. And it’s pretty nimble…

It’s so goddamn ugly.
I need it

The engine placement is weird but it flies so add it. Also where does the 25mm gau go does not look like it can fit on that jet.

What an absolute creature, +1

On the right side of the plane

Picture from 쿵디담의 다람쥐우리 : 네이버 블로그

Nice source, has some great images. Ill add them to the suggestion now.

Any chance you have come across a better picture of the cockpit? I think that the one currently in the suggestion is not the one they used when demonstrating the offensive capabilities of the plane.

1 Like

Can’t help but feel that such a light aircraft with an angled engine and that big a gun that far off-center would have so serious yaw issues lol

Seems about where I though it would go thanks.

+1 I’ve been in love with this plane for a while as was planning on making a suggestion myself sometime, happy to see its already done
Have a more military vibe camo of the thing while I’m here since I didn’t spot it in your image section

I look forward to running it into trees.

Huh, I don’t know how I missed this. I’ll add this to the suggestion as soon as I can. Any idea when this camo was used and what its called?

I did some digging and could not find an actual name for the camo; I’ve seen it mostly referred to as 151, but I believe that for the plane itself since you can see that same number on the tail in other camos. I think it was used as the military demonstration camo, but I have nothing to back that up since it’s just a theory as this camo is often seen in airshows so it could be a more military style one to appeal to the crowd. As for date, the image itself was uploaded to wiki in 2013 and is used to now as on the scaled composite instagram they posted a picture of the ARES in its tech demo form with its various upgrades still using the same camo. I stumbled across another camo, though; it looks like they tried a desert one here.

I will keep an eye out for information regarding these camos though.


Very nice find, I have added it to the suggestion. Gave you and other contributors credit too (Dunno why I didn’t do that before my apologies)

I agree. There definitely has been some modifications done to the aircraft after its rejection. Could be some cockpit improvements and internal upgrades. Main reason for me believing this is that the cockpit photo lacks a HUD where the actual demonstration plane has a HUD (As seen in the official video). I think just calling it the ‘Military Demonstration’ camouflage would be sufficient here.

If the Yak-141 can get its planned sensors and weapons, this should be able to get its planned Hellfires. Maybe even the GAU-13 if that wouldn’t require too big an alteration of the airframe.