A comparative study has been carried out on the mechanical properties at room temperature, thermal shock and ablation resistance as well as oxidation behaviour of ZrB2-20SiC, ZrB2-20SiC-5Si3N4 and ZrB2-20ZrC-20SiC-5Si3N4 (amounts represent volume percent) composites. Fracture toughness has been determined using either three-point bend tests on single edge notch bend specimens, or by indentation technique. Addition of Si3N4 as sintering aid leads to enhancement in flexural strength and fracture toughness in the composite without ZrC. The specimens were subjected to thermal shock by quenching from temperatures in the range of 800o- 1200oC to ice cold water, and to ablation by exposure to oxy-acetylene flame at 2200oC. The composite having ZrC as constituent, exhibits the highest resistance to damage due to thermal shock and ablation, while the ZrB2-SiC composite shows the least change in mass during ablation. On the other hand, thermogravimetric experiments from room temperature to 1300oC have shown that the presence of ZrC is detrimental for oxidation resistance. Hence, the constituents of the composites need to be selected on the basis of the nature of application. The results of this study show that the investigated ZrB2 based composites bear the potential for multiple use thermal protection of reentry type space vehicles.