In this paper, slurry erosion performance of high velocity flame-sprayed Ni-Al2O3 based coatings was evaluated. The coatings were deposited on a hydroturbine steel (CA6NM) by varying the content of Al 2O3 in Ni. Using jet-type test rig, erosion behavior of coatings and bare steel was evaluated at different impingement angles. Detailed investigation of the surface morphology of the eroded specimens was undertaken using SEM/EDS to identify potential erosion mechanism. A parameter named "erosion mechanism identifier" (ξ) was used to predict the mode of erosion. It was observed that the coating prepared using 40 wt.% of Al 2O3 showed a highest resistance to erosion. This coating enhanced the erosion resistance of the steel by 2 to 4 times. Spalling in the form of splats and chunks of material (formed by interlinking of cracks) along with fracture of Al2O3 splats were identified as primary mechanisms responsible for the loss of coating material. The erosion mechanism of coatings and bare steel predicted by ξ was in good agreement with that observed experimentally. Among different parameters, a function of fracture toughness (K IC) and hardness (H) showed excellent correlation with erosion resistance of coatings at both the impingement angles. © 2013 ASM International.