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Fleets are groups of ships. They move at the speed of the slowest ship in the fleet. Fleets are able to move between planets, stop moving when they arrive in the orbit of the destination planet (fleets cannot normally move to open space and stop). If a fleet includes transports, the transports can carry resources or ground units.
Fleets cannot enter rift zones, but may be able to pass through the gaps.
Starship and ramjet fleets take one or two additional watches after being ordered off a planet to leave orbit, and have to spend one watch in orbit after arrival before they will accept attack orders.
Starships cannot enter nebulas.
Ramjets cannot leave nebulas. They cannot pass between different nebula types (this is a bug). As of Era 3 they are rarely able to move at all (this is a bug).
Jumpbeacons exist on jumpship yards and on the imperial and sector capitals under the F&M doctrine. Jumpbeacons are a property of these designations' primary structures (the fleet HQ and jumpship yards structures) and can only be removed by redesignating the planet. Non-explorer jumpship fleets can't travel to planets outside the 250LY radius of the player's jumpbeacons on their own. If a jumpship fleet ends up outside beacon range (e.g, if a nearby beacon is captured,) it can still jump back into the range of any friendly beacon. Jumpfleets can cross space outside of a beacon range as long as their movement ends inside a beacon's range.
If you put jumpships in a fleet with starships or ramjets (producing a “mixed fleet”), the fleet will move at the speed of the slowest ship in the fleet and does not require a beacon. If a mixed fleet containing both jumpships and other ships turns into a jumpfleet while moving (e.g., if it gets hit by jumpmissiles and all the slow ships are destroyed), it will stop moving and you must issue it a new movement order. This is the only way that a fleet can stop moving in open space.
Fleets will not always use the best route to get to a destination if there are obstacles (e.g. nebulas or rift zones) in the way. You may need to manually order fleets to travel a planet that is on the way to the destination, then give them a new movement order once they arrive. Fleets often have trouble finding paths through rift zone gaps.
Fleets can move outside the boundaries of the map. Nebulas that extend to the edge of the map are not absolute impediments to starship movement if the starships are able to go around them. Some nebulas extend beyond the boundaries of the map but fleets can still pathfind around the invisible parts of the nebulas.