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Distributed real-time and embedded (DRE) systems are a class of real-time systems formed through a composition of predominantly legacy, closed and statically scheduled real-time subsystems, which comprise over-provisioned resources to deal with worst-case failure scenarios. The formation of the system-of-systems leads to a new range of faults that manifest at different granularities for which no statically defined fault tolerance scheme applies. Thus, dynamic and adaptive fault tolerance mechanisms are needed which must execute within the available resources without compromising the safety and timeliness of existing real-time tasks in the individual subsystems. To address these requirements, this paper describes a middleware solution called Safe Middleware Adaptation for Real-Time Fault Tolerance (SafeMAT), which opportunistically leverages the available slack in the over-provisioned resources of individual subsystems. SafeMAT comprises three primary artifacts: (1) a flexible and configurable distributed, runtime resource monitoring framework that can pinpoint in real-time the available slack in the system that is used in making dynamic and adaptive fault tolerance decisions, (2) a safe and resource aware dynamic failure adaptation algorithm that enables efficient recovery from different granularities of failures within the available slack in the execution schedule while ensuring real-time constraints are not violated and resources are not overloaded, and (3) a framework that empirically validates the correctness of the dynamic mechanisms and the safety of the DRE system. Experimental results evaluating SafeMAT on an avionics application indicates that SafeMAT incurs only 9-15% runtime fail over and 2-6% processor utilization overheads thereby providing safe and predictable failure adaptability in real-time.