The idea came from the desire to deliver high power in a reliable form for naval use. A twin engined aircraft could not be designed such that even when "folded" it came within the limits for aircraft carrier use; with two power blocks the failure of an accessory would not lead to failure of the engine as a whole.
The engine was test flown in a Fairey Battle, serialK9370, with its first flight taking place on 30 June 1939.
The engine was considered for use in the Hawker Tornado, and K9370 was later shipped to Wright Field in the US, where testing was carried out in 1942 with a view to using the potentially 3,000hp P.24 in the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a total of around 250 hours of test flying in the Battle being completed at Wright Field before the idea was abandoned. Following cancellation, the engine provided three trouble-free years of service in K9370.