The inability of Department of Defense (DoD) programs to sufficiently reduce technology risk prior to entering formal systems development has between 2007 and 2012 contributed to a 13 percent cost growth in weapon systems acquisition and a 17 percent increase in cycle time to deliver initial operational capability. With the advent of key legislation and resulting DoD acquisition reform initiatives, weapon systems programs are now required to enforce a technology development strategy that can foster true risk reduction prior to entering systems development. A key enabler to reducing technology risk and thereby accelerating design maturity is the use of system prototype demonstrations. The objective of this article is to present research findings on the “effects of system prototype demonstrations on weapons systems development” for major defense acquisition programs. The results of this research will better inform systems engineers and contribute to improved technology development strategy.