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Current generation sonar acoustic signal processing systems operate at throughputs comparable to those predicted for fifth generation computer systems. Programmable sonar processors are currently deployed that operate with throughputs in excess of 100 million operations per second. These processing speeds are achieved using distributed networks of programmable hardware based primitives which execute the basic signal processing functions. The network of primitives is configured by simple control software to implement the signal processing flow graph that defines the entire sonar processing function. This paper outlines the architecture and development of the processing primitives and their use in high throughput multiprocessor signal processing flow graph systems.