The Pacific pivot is placing new demands on fighter aircraft modernization. In January 2012, the Obama Administration announced that US defense priorities “would, of necessity, rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Control of the air is essential for joint operations, partnerships, crisis response and deterrence. It may come as a shock, then, that the US has serious challenges ahead to maintain air superiority in the Pacific. examines future scenarios such as challenges in the South China Seas and recommends an efficient buy out of at least the first 1000 F-35 by 2020 as the critical step. The F-35 must become the core capability for meeting current needs and bridging future technology development.