In order to take a promising Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) algorithm or system from the development stage to the point where it is robust enough for the application which it is intended for, a considerable amount of testing, training, and evaluation is required. This can take years. For example with seemingly slight distortion in the target/clutter characteristics, the algorithm behavior becomes erratic and random. In addition, no well defined method currently exists for designing image processing algorithms. Sophisticated and intelligent tools are needed in order to perform such a task in a rapid & efficient manner. A prototype system has been developed which uses a blackboard architecture and allows rapid mapping of procedural algorithms into a knowledge based development environment. This system was developed at Honeywell Systems and Research Center. Coupled with the graphics interface, this provides a powerful tool for prototyping & tuning ATR algorithms. Significant improvements were obtained from the knowledge based version over the conventionally coded procedural version.