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Exact synthetic aperture radar (SAR) inversion for a linear aperture may be obtained using fast transform techniques. Alternatively, back-projection integration in time domain can also be used. This technique has the benefit of handling a general aperture geometry. In the past, however, back-projection has seldom been used due to heavy computational burden. We show that the back-projection integral can be recursively partitioned and an effective algorithm constructed based on aperture factorization. By representing images in local polar coordinates it is shown that the number of operations is drastically reduced and can be made to approach that of fast transform algorithms. The algorithm is applied to data from the airborne ultra-wideband CARABAS SAR and shown to give a reduction in processing time of two to three orders of magnitude.