Important advancements in preventive maintenance of rotor-craft gear transmission systems are currently being sought for the development of an accurate machine health diagnostic system. Such a diagnostic system would use vibration or acoustic signals from the gear transmission system for (1) rapid on-line evaluation of gear wear or damage status, and (2) prediction of remaining gear life. Such health diagnostic capabilities would be essential for effective machine event/life management and advance warning before critical component failures. This paper demonstrates the use of vibration signature analysis procedures for health monitoring and diagnostics of a gear transmission system. The procedures used in this paper include
(i) the numerical simulation of the dynamics of a gear transmission system with single and multiple tooth damage,
(ii) the application of the Wigner-Ville Distribution (WVD) and the Wavelet transform in damage identification and quantification of damaged tooth based on the numerically generated vibration signal, and
(iii) the application of both WVD and the Wavelet transform on experimental data at various stage of gear failure obtained from an accelerated gear damage test rig. This paper demonstrates that the developed signature analysis procedure can successfully detect faulty gears in both numerically simulated and experimental tested transmission system. General conclusions on identification and quantification of gear tooth damage are drawn based on the results of this study.