Nonlinear ultrasonic (NLU) harmonic generation system was used to characterize the fatigue damage in a flat hour-glass, high strength Al-Cu-Zn-Mg alloy, AA7175-T7351 specimens. Experiments were carried out to introduce controlled levels of fatigue damage under constant amplitude loading to determine the NLU response using surface acoustic wave (or Rayleigh mode) at regular intervals of fatigue life. The NLU parameter (A2 / 12) plotted as a function of percentage of fatigue life shows two peaks for all the samples tested, independent of the amplitude of fatigue loading. The first peak appeared between 40%-50% of fatigue life and the second peak between 80%-90% of fatigue life. Among the two flat surfaces of the specimen, a higher nonlinearity response was observed on the surface which had the first crack initiation. The appearance of two peaks in the nonlinear response during fatigue damage progression is explained based on the dislocation dynamics and dislocation-crack interaction present in the specimens during the fatigue process. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.