An ultrasonic return signal analyzing instrument and method including analog circuitry for making partial power measurements on two selected frequency bands of the frequency spectrum of an ultrasonic return signal waveform and digital circuitry for measuring selected features of the envelope of the ultrasonic return signal waveform. Digital waveform measurements are converted to analog signals and then combined in an algorithmic combining circuit to produce a test statistic signal. A decision circuit receives the test statistic signal and registers a decision on a characteristic of the structure under examination based on the value of the test statistic signal. The instrument includes a signal normalization circuit to normalize the ultrasonic return signal to a fixed peak value and includes a frequency up-converter in the normalizing circuit and frequency down-converters in the partial power measurement circuits for increasing the accuracy of peak detection in the normalizing circuit and envelope detection for the partial power band signals and the total power signal. The digital waveform feature measurement circuitry includes circuitry for measuring the rise time and duration time of the ultrasonic return signal envelope and logic is provided for handling two distinct return signal waveforms with rise time and duration time measurements being accomplished on the highest distinct pulse within the GATE signal window of the instrument. A GATE signal generated from the delayed GATE input of the pulser receiver of an ultrasonic instrument is utilized to GATE the various measurement functions so that measurements will be made only on the selected segment of the ultrasonic return signal waveform desired to be analyzed. A Fisher linear discriminant function is used as the algorithm in connection with analyzing ultrasonic return signals from stainless steel pipe having possible intergranular stress corrosion cracking conditions therein.