The successor to Earth Fleet, the Imperial Navy of 2276 is barely one third the size of the Federation's Navy at peak strength. Although most of the old shipyards have been repaired, a shortage of trained manpower, raw materials, and cash have hobbled efforts to rebuild Humanity's space forces. Most operational vessels are either refurbished Earth Fleet hulls, or new copies of obsolete designs. The Navy's only Star Control Ship, the INS Thor, is manned by a skeleton crew and has never left the Avalon system.
The Navy's primary task in the wake of the Ascension War has been seizing direct control of the jumpgate and hyperspace beacon networks in the name of the Emperor. Dismantling jumpgates and decommissioning beacons, has radically simplified transport routes across the Empire. By controlling access through the remaining gates and the availability of jump point generators, the Navy has secured an almost absolute monopoly on interstellar trade within the boundaries of Imperial space. Only ships with the approval of the Navy or Logistics Corps are permitted to travel between systems. This gives the Emperor tremendous power over his subjects, as any planet which earns his displeasure may be blockaded and left to starve.
Unfortunately, monitoring travel across such a vast expanse as the Empire is an enormous task. The Navy has very few ships which it can detach from picket and convoy duties in order to conduct combat operations. This has given both the Bugs and the Jurvain an opportunity to launch nearly unopposed invasions across the Empire's southern border.
The current Navy's current Lord of the Fleet is Ramachander Pennyworth, who finally rose to the position in 2268, after six of his predecessors were executed in just three years. Lord Pennyworth's rank grants him the same rights and privileges as an Archduke of the Imperial Court.