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a small fleet or a fleet of small vessels
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) An operational unit in the navy of many states that is charged with carrying out a mission in a designated area of a sea, river, or lake. A flotilla consists of formations of ships and aircraft, units of marines, and units of services that maintain its military readiness and routine functioning. Missions of flotillas are executed independently or in conjunction with formations and units of other military forces (combat arms).

(2) A tactical formation in the navy of several foreign states (USA, Great Britain, France, and others) consisting of two or more squadrons or divisions of submarines, destroyers, rocket launches or torpedo boats, minesweepers, and other ships and boats.

(3) An operational unit of strategic atomic-powered missile-carrying submarines of some states (French Navy, for example).

(4) A formation of fishing, expeditionary, or sporting boats, such as the antarctic whaling flotilla Slava.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
According to Navy's Deputy Commander Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani Moqaddam, dispatch of the "peace and friendship flotilla" to the Caspian Sea littoral states is on the Navy's agenda in the current Iranian year (started on March 21).
It was the second humanitarian flotilla to set out from Gaza since Palestinians first began holding rallies along the Gaza-Israel security fence on March 30 this year.
Freedom Flotilla Coalition mentioned that their "Right to a Just Future for Palestine flotilla" that is on its way to Gaza will carry as many medical supplies as our four boats can safely hold", calling on the international community to help Gazans get pass Israel forces.
Organizers of the flotilla reportedly warned participants to expect Israel to use force to prevent the "flotilla" from breaching the blockade if necessary.
The other two boats in the flotilla headed back without breaching the blockade line.
The Russian Caspian flotilla is the largest and most powerful naval unit in the Caspian Sea.
The Mavi Marmara, the largest passenger ship in the flotilla was carrying more than 550 passengers including two German members of the Bundestag, the parliament, and one Swedish member of parliament.
The Flotilla's flagship yacht, "The Pog, had meanwhile travelled into Indonesian exclusive zone and tried to establish contact with country's naval commanders.
Syrian expatriates are seeking to launch a "Freedom Flotilla" overland from Jordan and Turkey to Syria in support of the ongoing protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the pan-Arab daily ASHARQ AL AWSAT reported on Thursday.
UPDATE: 972+ reports that IHH denies plans for a flotilla. Thanks to commenter Dani ben Leb.
Summary: JEDDAH: The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has criticized the "biased" UN report on Israel's deadly attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla Mavi Marmara and called for an independent inquiry into the incident.