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As various enabling technologies advance, conformal phased arrays are finding more numerous applications. Because a conformal array is curved, new far field pattern behaviors emerge and many of the traditional linear and planar phased array synthesis methods are not valid. This paper starts by reviewing the equations for the far field of a curved phased array, and provides a generalized definition of aperture efficiency appropriate for conformal arrays. A modified Bernstein polynomial, defined with just five parameters, is introduced which provides a flexible method to specify a variety of smooth unimodal amplitude distributions that are shown to give good sidelobe levels and aperture efficiencies. By using particle swarm optimization of the modified Bernstein polynomial parameters constrained to provide a specified aperture efficiency, a family of aperture distributions and corresponding far field patterns is produced that allows aperture efficiency to be traded for sidelobe level.