This paper presents the development of adhesive bonded structure as its use has steadily increased and discusses its relationship to improved structural durability. Also described is the evolution of bonding materials and processes and their extensive usage in three generations of cargo aircraft. Recent research and development work related to fatigue crack growth retardation has been accomplished. The approaches investigated provide life improvement to structures designed to the criteria specified in MIL-STD-1530 and MIL-A-83444. Data have been generated to demonstrate the compatibility of bonded structure and the fatigue enhancement joining techniques of interference-fit fasteners or cold working of fastener holes. New generation adhesive systems are also providing improved durability to adverse environments and have shown applicability to bonding metals or composites. The big payoff for these advancements in bonding technology is that more durable airframe structure can be built at little or no weight penalty while meeting the durability and damage tolerance criteria imposed by the new Military Standards and Specifications. The approved construction methods will find their way into commercial and general aviation aircraft as the extensive testing to establish their safety is completed and the improved economics is demonstrated.