Cavitation erosion remains the primary cause of material degradation in fluid machinery components operating at high speed. Micro-jets/shock waves caused by implosion of bubbles on material surface results in significant material loss and premature failure of the components. The presence of corrosive medium further exuberates this effect, causing rapid degradation. Here, we demonstrate a novel pathway to control cavitation erosion-corrosion by tailoring the surface properties using submerged friction stir processing (FSP), a severe plastic deformation process. FSP parameters were varied over wide range of strain-rates to generate tailored microstructures. High strain-rate processing resulted in nearly single phase fine grained structure while low strain-rate processing resulted in phase transformation in addition to grain refinement. As-received and processed samples were subjected to ultrasonic cavitation in distilled water as well as in corrosive environment of 3.5\% NaCl solution. Individual roles of cavitation erosion, corrosion and their synergistic effects were analyzed. Depending on the microstructure, processed samples showed nearly 4–6 times higher cavitation erosion resistance compared to as-received alloy. Superior cavitation erosion-corrosion resistance of processed samples was attributed to surface strengthening, higher strain-hardening ability and quick passivation kinetics. The results of current study could be potentially transformative in designing robust materials for hydro-dynamic applications. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.