The need for noise source localization and characterization has driven the development of advanced sound field measurement techniques using microphone arrays. Unfortunately, the cost and complexity of these systems currently limit their widespread use. Directional acoustic arrays are commonly used in wind tunnel studies of aeroacoustic sources and may consist of hundreds of condenser microphones. A microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-based directional acoustic array system is presented to demonstrate key technologies to reduce the cost, increase the mobility, and improve the data processing efficiency versus conventional systems. The system uses 16 hybrid-packaged MEMS silicon piezoresistive microphones that are mounted to a printed circuit board. In addition, a high-speed signal processing system was employed to generate the array response in near real time. Dynamic calibrations of the microphone sensor modules indicate an average sensitivity of 831 microV/Pa with matched magnitude (+/-0.6 dB) and phase (+/-1 degree) responses between devices. The array system was characterized in an anechoic chamber using a monopole source as a function of frequency, sound pressure level, and source location. The performance of the MEMS-based array is comparable to conventional array systems and also benefits from significant cost savings.