This article presents a set of studies performed on aluminum-silicon carbide particulate metal matrix composites prepared by adding 5, 10, 15 and 20% of SiC in aluminum alloy and processed with abrasive water jets that are formed with garnet and silicon carbide abrasives of 80 mesh size. These studies are essentially meant to assess the penetration ability of abrasive water jets on different compositions of Al-SiC p MMCs produced by stir casting method. Abrasive waterjet cutting experiments were conducted on trapezoidal shaped specimens of different composites as well on the constituent materials i.e., 100% aluminum alloy and 100% SiC specimens by varying water pressure, jet traverse speed and abrasive mass flow rate, each at three different levels. The percentage contribution of individual and combined effects of process parameters on penetration ability was analyzed by means of analysis of variance. Contribution of waterjet pressure and traverse speed on jet penetration in these meaterials are found to be more than abrasive flow rate. Among the interaction effects, waterjet pressure and jet traverse speed combinations contribute more to jet penetration. The results presented in this study can be used to build statistical models that can predict the depth of penetration of jet in different MMCs. This study also highlights the need to choose suitable abrasive mass flow rates and jet traverse speeds for effective processing of MMCs with abrasive water jets. © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.