Napier Aero Engines
During the First World War the Company became involved producing aircraft and later aero engines for the war effort. Montague Napier considered these RAF3A and Sunbeam Arab aircraft engines to be inferior products. After the Ministry refused to sanction a new engine design Montague self financed the development of what became the Lion engine. This was used in many aircraft between the wars and also fitted in many air, land and water record breakers dominating the world record scene throughout the entire first half of the 20th Century.
Engine development continued between the wars and climaxed during WWII with the famous Sabre engine fitted in the Hawker Typhoon and Tempest aircraft and becoming the most powerful piston aero engine produced in that period. Post-war engine development moved towards gas turbine (Naiad & Gazelle) and turbo-prop (Eland) not to mention the Napier Nomad compound engine – the most fuel efficient aero engine developed up to that time. Napier’s Luton Flight Development Establishment was also heavily involved in developing rocket motors including the Napier Scorpion which, in 1957, boosted a Canberra Bomber to an altitude of over 57,000 feet and another world record for Napier.