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A prototype framework of software tools for the design of distributed real-time control system software is described here. The tools provide a highly transparent transformation from a specification to an implementation. The specification is in a familiar control engineering notation and can be simulated to ensure correct functional behaviour. The translation to an executable form is made via a software engineering model of the system. Two optimisations that can be performed on the software engineering model to improve the reliability and performance of the distributed system under development are described. The framework generates all the source code to execute the system under development on a network of transputers. The transputer implementation uses the Virtuoso real-time kernel. As an example the framework is used to implement a linearised continuous-time roll-yaw-pitch autopilot and airframe model. Execution times are given for simplex, triple modular redundant and five modular redundant hardware fault-tolerant configurations of the autopilot.