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The design of thinned planar microstrip arrays under specific constraints concerning the impedance-matching condition of the array elements and the radiation pattern is presented. The radiation characteristics of the structure are extracted by applying the method-of-moments. The array design is based on a novel optimization method, which is a modified version of the boolean particle swarm optimization that employs velocity mutation (BPSO-vm). Apart from the optimization of the array geometry, the proposed method is applicable to other discrete-variable optimization problems. Moreover, the planar array design is coped with by means of other techniques, namely, a binary coded Genetic Algorithm, the binary Particle Swarm Optimization, and the Boolean PSO. The comparison of the above methods and the BPSO-vm shows the efficiency of the proposed technique.