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Results of experimental measurements and theoretical calculations on ultrasonic leaky Lamb‐wave propagation in fiber‐reinforced, unidirectional composite laminates are presented. With the Lamb wave vector oriented parallel to the fiber direction, dispersion curves of phase velocity versus frequency and plate thickness have been constructed from measurements of ultrasonic reflection from fluid‐loaded composite plates. The experimental results are supported by a theoretical model of Lamb‐wave propagation in the composite plate. The model begins with an approximate calculation of the effective, homogeneous, transversely isotropic elastic behavior of a unidirectional composite laminate in the long‐wavelength limit, using a two‐step procedure based on alternating layered media. This intermediate continuum result is then incorporated into a calculation of the ultrasonic reflection coefficient of a fluid‐loaded anisotropic plate, which is assumed to approximate the fibrous composite laminate. Good quantitative agreement with the model is found if the fiber volume fraction is taken to be an adjustable parameter. However, not all portions of the dispersion curves predicted by the model can be observed in the data. It is conjectured that relative differences in mode coupling account for this discrepancy.