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This is Part I of a series of two papers describing the development of a digital high-frequency, annular-array, ultrasonic imaging system. In this paper, the design and fabrication of a high-frequency annular array as well as its performance will be reported. A six-element, 50 MHz array, which incorporated an acoustic lens to provide an initial focal point, was designed and fabricated. A submicron size grain lead titanate piezoelectric ceramic was used to both reduce lateral coupling and keep the electrical impedance matched close to the 50 ohm receive electronics. The array elements were isolated using laser micromachining to fully separate the annuli, and electrical interconnection was achieved by directly soldering thin wires to the elements. The resulting array attained an average impulse response that exhibited a 43 MHz center frequency, 30% relative bandwidth, and an average insertion loss of 31 dB at 45 MHz. Maximum next-element crosstalk was -27 dB in water.