This paper presents a multi-agent search technique to design an optimal composite box-beam helicopter rotor blade. The search technique is called particle swarm optimization ('inspired by the choreography of a bird flock'). The continuous geometry parameters (cross-sectional dimensions) and discrete ply angles of the box-beams are considered as design variables. The objective of the design problem is to achieve (a) specified stiffness value and (b) maximum elastic coupling. The presence of maximum elastic coupling in the composite box-beam increases the aero-elastic stability of the helicopter rotor blade. The multi-objective design problem is formulated as a combinatorial optimization problem and solved collectively using particle swarm optimization technique. The optimal geometry and ply angles are obtained for a composite box-beam design with ply angle discretizations of 10 degrees, 15 degrees and 45 degrees. The performance and computational efficiency of the proposed particle swarm optimization approach is compared with various genetic algorithm based design approaches. The simulation results clearly show that the particle swarm optimization algorithm provides better solutions in terms of performance and computational time than the genetic algorithm based approaches.