There are presently three materials (sapphire, ALON and spinel) which exhibit a desirable combination of material properties such as hardness, strength, and transmission in MWIR that are considered for various window/dome applications. Of the three, sapphire exists in a number of service applications. It is, however, the most expensive of the three and depending on application, can have significant drawbacks owing to its birefringent nature. ALON, by comparison is less expensive, benefits from greater development efforts, is an easily shaped polycrystalline ceramic, optically does not possess the birefringent nature of sapphire, but requires very high formation temperatures for the starting powders and equally long processing times for fabricated parts. The remaining material, transparent spinel, offers improved optical performance over the spectrum from UV to MWIR, comparable mechanical properties, and can be fabricated at much lower temperatures and shorter times than the other materials making it less expensive to produce. Data will be described which compares the transparency and mechanical properties and discusses the relevant processing efforts for spinel products.