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a combined operational unit of the navies of major countries. Fleets are charged with carrying out tactical and strategic missions in designated theaters of naval operations. The most important missions of a fleet are the destruction of shore targets, the destruction of enemy naval forces at bases and at sea, the transfer and landing of amphibious forces, disruption of the enemy’s supply shipping, the defense of coastal areas from invasion by sea, the defense of friendly supply shipping, and the offshore fire support of land forces.
A fleet consists of large units of various combat arms or services: submarine forces, surface forces, naval aviation, marines, and coastal missile-launching artillery. Fleets are headed by a commander (by a commander in chief in the US Navy). Under his direction are a staff, other command organs, and support services, such as rear services, communications, armament, ship repair, emergency rescue, and hydrographic services. The missions of a fleet are carried out as naval operations and combat engagements conducted independently or in conjunction with large units of other branches of the armed forces. A fleet has a well-developed system of bases and shore-support facilities, which provide berths for ships, repair facilities, and logistical services of all types and in which combat training is carried out.
Small countries with access to the sea have a single fleet, serving as the country’s navy. Major powers, such as the USSR and USA, deploy several fleets, which together constitute the country’s navy.
ii. The total holding of all aircraft with an operator (e.g., Air India has a fleet of 23 aircraft).