In recent years, aeroplane engines have evolved towards the direction of hypersonic flight, re-use and combined cycle propulsion. As one of the core components, air-hydrogen precooler plays a vital role in the development of liquefied air cycle engines. In order to solve the problem of rapid cooling of high-temperature high-speed air to cryogenic temperature in a very short period of time, the present study proposes a novel compact integrated precooler, which is made up of thin-walled fin and printed circuit plates. To examine the thermal-hydraulic performance of the novel compact integrated precooler design, two different types of conventional precoolers, i.e., shell-and-tube heat exchanger and printed circuit heat exchanger, are used for comparison in terms of volumetric power, power per mass unit and compactness. The results indicate that the comprehensive performance of the novel precooler is significantly improved.