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This paper proposes a novel approach to the determination of the mechanical behaviour of composite materials up to failure using numerical and experimental techniques in parallel. A bottom-up multiscale virtual testing strategy is presented to take into account the physical mechanisms of deformation at different length scales on the behaviour of the composite. Starting from the microscale, the contributions of the basic constituents, microstructure and loading conditions to the mechanical response are considered in a rigorous way. This hierarchical multiscale approach describes systematically the material behaviour at different length scales from ply to laminate to component level, allowing the determination of ply properties, laminate characteristics and structural response. Additionally, this approach easily allows consideration of changes in properties of the constituents (fibre, matrices), fibre architecture or laminate lay-up and provides fast predictions of their influences on the macroscopic behaviour of composite structures. Hence, this approach constitutes a promising tool to provide significant efficiency gains in the design, testing and certification of composite aircraft structures.