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In this letter, an effective technique for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna mask design is presented for optimizing the system performance of an active phased array SAR. The SAR antenna radiation pattern has an important effect on the system performance. Therefore, the authors derived the quantitative equations for the SAR antenna mainlobe and sidelobe mask design on the basis of the system performance measures such as the range-to-ambiguity ratio (RAR), the noise-equivalent sigma zero (NESZ), and the radiometric accuracy. The antenna mask template should be designed to minimize the ambiguous signals reflected from the antenna sidelobes and maximize the system sensitivity, i.e., the NESZ, determined by the antenna mainlobe. The simple iterative method such as random-mutation hill climbing was utilized to successfully assign the sidelobe level at each ambiguous area using the derived equations. Finally, the antenna patterns were synthesized with reference to the optimized antenna mask templates using the particle swarm optimization, and the swath width, RAR, and NESZ performances were evaluated in order to confirm the effectiveness of the proposed technique.