High-fidelity simulations, e.g., large eddy simulation (LES), are often needed for accurately predicting pressure losses due to wake mixing and boundary layer development in turbomachinery applications. An unsteady adjoint of high-fidelity simulations is useful for design optimization in such aerodynamic applications. In this paper, we present unsteady adjoint solutions using a large eddy simulation model for an inlet guide vane from von Karman Institute (VKI) using aerothermal objectives. The unsteady adjoint method is effective in capturing the gradient for a short time interval aerothermal objective, whereas the method provides diverging gradients for long time-averaged thermal objectives. As the boundary layer on the suction side near the trailing edge of the vane is turbulent, it poses a challenge for the adjoint solver. The chaotic dynamics cause the adjoint solution to diverge exponentially from the trailing edge region when solved backward in time. This results in the corruption of the sensitivities obtained from the adjoint solutions. An energy analysis of the unsteady compressible Navier–Stokes adjoint equations indicates that adding artificial viscosity to the adjoint equations can dissipate the adjoint energy while potentially maintaining the accuracy of the adjoint sensitivities. Analyzing the growth term of the adjoint energy provides a metric for identifying the regions in the flow where the adjoint term is diverging. Results for the vane obtained from simulations performed on the Titan supercomputer are demonstrated.