In the current work, Ni-Al2O3 based composite coatings were fabricated using High Velocity Flame Spray (HVFS) system. The effect of alumina content on the microstructure and various mechanical properties viz. microhardness, fracture toughness, density, residual stress and scratch resistance was studied. Microstructure of the coating was characterized with the help of Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) equipped with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), Optical Microscope (OM) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD). It was observed that microstructural properties such as splat size, porosity, un-melted particles and surface roughness are highly affected by the alumina content in the coatings. Microhardness improved with the rise in alumina fraction and a maximum of 1151HV could be achieved with 60wt.% alumina blending. Cracking and spallation were found to be the mechanisms responsible for damage of coatings during scratch testing. A model has been proposed to explain the variation in surface roughness and porosity of the Ni-Al2O3 coatings based on coating build-up mechanism. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.