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RF microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switch technology used in the fabrication of phase-shifter circuits is examined from the perspective of failure mode and reliability implications on the performance of large X-band array antennas. Amplitude and phase-state failure probability density functions (pdfs) conditioned on switch probability of failure are formulated for both the hybrid-T (switched line) and coupled-line phase-shifter circuit topologies. The pdfs are used to assess the phase-shifter failure impact on overall array level performance in terms of gain loss and the increase in RMS sidelobe level. Reliability and lifetime implications are addressed through considering a probability of switch failure that increases with cycling. The phase-shifter lifetime switching considerations are related to radar system lifetime beam switching requirements consistent with plausible radar system applications. The key findings are that RF MEMS switch mean time to failure ∼125000 h or longer, consistent with ∼100-125 phase-shifter state switches per second (∼1011 switch operations), are reasonable expectations for RF MEMS phase-shifter technology to meet in order to be considered viable for a broad range of array antenna applications.