A new airborne imaging spectrometer introduced: the ARES (Airborne Reflective Emissive Spectrometer) to be built by Integrated Spectronics, Sydney, Australia, financed by DLR German Aerospace Center and the GFZ GeoResearch Center Potsdam, Germany, and will be available to the scientific community from 2003/2004 on. The ARES sensor will provide 160 channels in the solar reflective region (0.45-2.45 μm) and the thermal region (8-13 μm). It will consists of two separate coregistered optical systems for the reflective and thermal part of the spectrum. The spectral resolution is intended to be between 12 and 15 nm in the solar wavelength range and should reach 150nm in the thermal. ARES will be used mainly for environmental applications in terrestrial ecosystems. The thematic focus is thought to be on soil sciences, geology, agriculture and forestry. Limnologic applications should be possible but will not play a key role in the thematic applications. For all above mentioned key application scenarios the spectral response of soils, rocks, and vegetation as well as their mixtures contain the valuable information to be extracted and quantified. The radiometric requirements for the instrument have been modelled based on realistic application scenarios and account for the most demanding requirements of the three application fields: a spectral bandwidth of 15 nm in the 0.45-1.8 μm region, and 12 nm in the 2 - 2.45 μm region. The required noise equivalent radiance is 0.005, 0.003, and 0.003 mWcm-2sr-1μm-1 for the spectral regions 0.45-1 μm, 1 - 1.8 μm, and 2 - 2.45 μm, respectively.