The littoral combat ship USS Detroit in drydock at BAE Systems' shipyard in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2019.

The littoral combat ship USS Detroit in drydock at BAE Systems' shipyard in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2019. U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard

The Naval Brief: Drone refuels fighter jet; LCS fixes; Nuke missile, canceled; and more

Welcome to The Naval Brief, a weekly look at the news and ideas shaping the sea services’ future. 

Drone refueling milestone. For the first time, a manned F/A-18 Super Hornet refueled from an unmanned MQ-25 T1 Stingray during a test flight last week. The Navy aims to put the drone to work in carrier air wings for aerial tanking and intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance tasks.

Nukes nuked. The Navy will cancel its nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile in 2023, despite asking for $5.2 million in research and development for the program in 2022, according to a memo from acting Navy secretary Thomas Harker, USNI News reports. The type of missile was a requirement identified in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

Wartime maintenance concerns. The Navy needs to figure out how it will repair battle-damaged ships in wartime, according to the Government Accountability Office, Navy Times reports. The service divested many of its wartime repair capabilities during the Cold War.

Sign up to get The Navy Brief every Thursday from Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One’s military services reporter. Did you hear there’s a newly recognized ocean? National Geographic cartographers say the currents around Antarctica are distinct and should be called the Southern Ocean.

From Defense One

Pentagon’s Accelerating ‘Connect-Everything’ Effort Hinges on Uncertain Cloud Program // Patrick Tucker: If the JEDI program collapses, JADC2 is going to need a replacement cloud.

Navy Finds 32 Problems with Littoral Combat Ships // Caitlin M. Kenney: Study reveals “key reliability issues” and maintenance averaging up to two weeks per month to fix.

For Now, ‘Over the Horizon’ Protection for Afghanistan Will Fly From Existing Hubs, Acting Air Force Secretary Says // Tara Copp: Service wants $10 billion for South Asia and Middle East operations as Pentagon develops long-term plan for Afghanistan support.

Marine General Punished For Training, Evaluation Failures Before Deadly Accident // Caitlin M. Kenney: Commandant’s decision may end Maj. Gen. Robert Castellvi’s career.

How China Steals US Tech to Catch Up in Underwater Warfare // Ma Xiu,Peter W. Singer: From legal filings to a Chinese lab’s website, open source documents provide an illuminating trail.