An Air Barge is fixed-wing aircraft designed for a multitude of a roles, typically infantry support, transportation, early warning and more unusually, gunship, aerial area denial and bombing.
These were typically employed by various nations' military forces during World War 2 and the subsequent World-End War, although civilian applications were not uncommon.
Pioneered by Cromwell Aircraft of Great Britain, these massive vessels were a culmination of the Flying Boat aircraft design, incorporating wide body fuselages to massive tandem wings - with the occasional exotic design featuring tandem biplanes or triplanes - and dozens of radial (and later turboshaft) engines to lift and transport enormous amounts of cargo. Due to these characteristics, they quickly became the standard for military supply lines, and allowed the battling nations of Europe to aggrandize their territorial reach considerably during campaigns, often supplanting the use of railroads for logistics.
Most of them were designed and built for sea based operation because of their massive size and weight, but a few could operate off most long runways.
Cromwell GL-1 Edit
The first ever Air Barge protoype. A small test model built from the modified, widened hull of a retired Short Sunderland bomber in 1941 with custom made tandem biplane wings and powered by 5x Bristol Pegasi (one mounted on a separate nacelle on top of the midsection of the aircraft, two on each wing), for a combined horsepower of 5000hp. When interviewed, Alphonse Cromwell claimed he named it GL-1 after "good luck", since all of his wealth and career hinged on this one prototype attracting the attention of the British military.