From automobile industry to aerospace, thermoformed composites are more and more in use. Thermoplastics offer a number of attractive applications in commercial use like short production times, tailored solutions, recyclability and lower cost. The thermoforming process allows for producing carbon fiber-reinforced parts in a wide range of different geometric shapes. On the other hand this benefit requires a demanding nondestructive testing procedure especially for security relevant parts. A contactless method which is able to fulfil this requirement is the extension of the ultrasound technique with laser technology. It opens up new opportunities for quality assessment during manufacturing like inspection of complex surfaces including small radii, remote observation and nondestructive testing of hot items directly after the thermal forming process. We describe the successful application of laser-based ultrasound on small complex thermoformed composite parts (Cetex® PPS). Cetex consists of semicrystalline polyphenylene sulfide thermoplastics providing outstanding toughness and excellent chemical and solvent resistance. It is qualified in aircraft industry for multiple structural applications. For instance, Cetex is used in the Airbus A380 engine air intakes and the wing fixed leading edge (J-Nose). We investigated several test samples with intentionally introduced defects. The smallest flaw size detected was 2 mm in diameter for delaminations and 6 mm in diameter for porosity.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.