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A neuro-sliding-mode control (NSMC) strategy was developed to handle the complex nonlinear dynamics and model uncertainties of flexible-link manipulators. A composite controller was designed based on a singularly perturbed model of flexible-link manipulators when the rigid motion and flexible motion are decoupled. The NSMC is employed to control the slow subsystem to track a desired trajectory with a traditional sliding mode controller to stabilize the fast subsystem which represents the link vibrations. A stability analysis of the flexible modes is also given. Simulations confirm that the NSMC performs better than the traditional sliding-mode control for controlling flexible-link manipulators. The control strategy not only gives good tracking performance for the joint angle, but also effectively suppresses endpoint vibrations. The simulations also show that the control strategy has a strong self-adaptive ability for controlling manipulators with different parameters.