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A domain-decomposition/reciprocity procedure is presented which allows the radiation patterns of microstrip patch antennas mounted on arbitrarily-shaped three-dimensional perfectly electric conducting (PEC) platforms to be computed accurately as well as efficiently. The utility of this technique is demonstrated by considering an example consisting of a nine-element conformal array of microstrip patch antennas mounted axially along a finite-length PEC circular cylinder. It is shown that the elements close to the ends of the cylinder have significantly different patterns than those close to the center of the cylinder. The results from this example suggest that the common practice where all the individual element patterns are assumed identical is not always valid and, in fact, can lead to significant performance degradation in the design of conformal phased arrays. This observation is supported by the fact that an attempt to steer the main beam of the nine-element conformal array to an angle θ0=60° using a standard uniform progressive phase shifting technique proves unsuccessful. Next a genetic algorithm (GA) synthesis procedure is introduced that is capable of determining the optimal set of element excitation phases required to yield a desired or specified far-field radiation pattern. The results of this GA phase-only optimization are shown to yield the desired main beam steered to the correct angle for this nine-element linear array mounted on a circularly cylindrical platform. The GA radiation pattern synthesis procedure introduced appears to be a highly effective means of correcting for platform effects on the individual element patterns of a conformal phased array.