Aerospace structures contain multi-layered components connected by fasteners, where fatigue cracks and disbonds or localized lack of sealant can develop due to cyclic loading conditions and stress concentration. High frequency guided waves propagating along such a structure allow for the efficient non-destructive testing of large components, such as aircraft wings. The type of multi-layered model structure investigated in this contribution consists of two aluminium plates adhesively bonded with an epoxy based sealant layer. Using commercially available transducer equipment, specific high frequency guided ultrasonic wave modes that penetrate through the complete thickness of the structure were excited. The wave propagation along the structure was measured experimentally using a laser interferometer. Two types of hidden damage were considered: a localized lack of sealant and small surface defects in the metallic layer facing the sealant. The detection sensitivity using standard pulse-echo measurement equipment has been quantified and the detection of small hidden defects from significant stand-off distances has been shown. Fatigue experiments were carried out and the potential of high frequency guided waves for the monitoring of fatigue crack growth at a fastener hole during cyclic loading was discussed.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.