The paper describes the manufacture of thin composite panels using high performance sheet moulding compound (SMC). Topics discussed within the paper include characterisation of curing and flow behaviour of SMC material, tooling design concept and determination of suitable processing conditions for compression moulding. A Full scale “Burst test” was carried out to evaluate the mechanical performance of SMC panels. The overall performance of the SMC panels was satisfactory with all panels failed beyond the specification value. The main failure mode was a through-thickness cracking. In addition, a geometrical non-linear numerical analysis was also carried out to investigate the stress distribution and deflection behaviour of SMC panel during “Burst testing”.