A fleet, or naval fleet, is a large formation of warships, and the largest formation in any navy. A fleet at sea is the direct equivalent of an army on land.
A fleet is normally commanded by an Admiral, who is often also a commander in chief, but many fleets have been or are commanded by Vice Admirals or even Rear Admirals. Most fleets are divided into several squadrons, each under a subordinate admiral. Those squadrons in turn are often divided into divisions. In the age of sail, fleets were divided into van, centre and rear squadrons, named after each squadron’s place in the line of battle. In more modern times, the squadrons are typically composed of homogeneous groups of the same class of warship, such as battleships or cruisers.
Since many smaller navies only contain a single fleet, the term the fleet is often synonymous with the navy.