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Synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) is an emerging technology capable of providing high resolution sea floor imaging. One remarkable property of SAS is that its azimuthal resolution is theoretically independent of range and wavelength. Consequently SAS is particularly well suited for classifying bottom mines at standoff ranges. SAS processing technology has matured sufficiently in the recent years that it is now being implemented in an entire new generation of platforms, including unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). In these applications it is desirable to have an efficient way of estimating SAS performance as a function of environmental and system parameters. Such a capability can serve as a tactical decision aid to optimize performance during a mission. It can also serve as a mission planning or post-mission analysis tool. A series of analytical engineering formulas is given for estimating SAS algorithm performance under various conditions. The formulas are simple in computation yet capable of capturing the most relevant physics. The aggregate of these formulas allows one to quickly estimate the overall system performance. This approach can be extended to provide the basis for a SAS mission planning capability. Concepts for a SAS mission planner are presented.