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The authors present the design, realization, and experimental results of a microwave/photonic circuit suitable for high-speed direct digital modulation of microwave signals. The modulator employs a combination of microwave, photonic, and digital techniques to produce a discrete phase and amplitude (i.e., vector) modulated carrier signal. The proof-of-concept demonstration presented in this paper was performed using a carrier frequency of 1 GHz and supports BPSK, QPSK, and 16-QAM. The authors also discuss ways to modify the modulator to simultaneously achieve data rates on the order of several hundreds of Mbs and wideband frequency hopping.