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A novel rapid acquisition algorithm, called sequential block search, is proposed for impulse radio systems, which can reduce the mean acquisition time considerably. The algorithm is compared to the conventional serial search algorithm and output statistics for both algorithms are derived for a binary phase-shift keyed random time hopping impulse radio system. The mean acquisition time formulas are obtained using the signal flow graph approach. The simulations indicate the superiority of the rapid acquisition algorithm over the serial search technique with a modest increase in the complexity.