The Centaurus was the final development of the Bristol Engine Company's series of sleeve valve radial aircraft engines. The Centaurus is an 18-cylinder, two-row design that eventually delivered over . The engine was introduced into service late in the Second World War and was one of the most powerful aircraft piston engines to see service.
Design and development
Like other Bristol sleeve valve engines, the Centaurus was based on the design knowledge acquired from an earlier design, in this case the Bristol Perseus cylinder. The Centaurus used 18 Perseus cylinders. The same cylinder was in use in the contemporary 14-cylinder Hercules, which was being brought into production when the design of the Centaurus started.
The Centaurus had a cylinder swept volume of , nearly as much as the American Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone large radial, making the Centaurus one of the largest aircraft piston engines to enter production, while that of the Hercules was . The nearly 40 pe