About Us

A history of excellence in Refrigeration Engineering

For over 130 years, the name Lightfoot has been synonymous with Quality and Reliability IN THE REFRIGERATION AND AIR CONDITIONING FIELD

Throughout Military and Commercial Sectors alike, Lightfoot Defence offers an exceptional service to Design, Manufacture, Maintain, Train, and Support refrigeration systems and equipment from Concept to Disposal.

Lightfoot is committed to providing a superior service, and has invested in a Quality Management System which has been approved by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance to BS EN ISO 9001. Lightfoot ensures that this quality system adheres to a process of continuous improvement through a strict programme of internal audits.

We offer a diverse range of bespoke services that will be tailored to meet your needs. Working within multiple industries; Oil & Gas, Aviation, Defence, and Commercial we have a broad range of experience to draw upon. We supply Engineers to integrate with current staff and have the proficiency to undertake projects both at home and abroad.

Our History
In 1885, Mr Thomas Bell Lightfoot, whose name is known throughout the world as one of the pioneers of mechanical refrigeration, founded Lightfoot Refrigeration Company.

Thomas Lightfoot was the designer of the first commercially successful ship’s refrigeration plant in which chemical refrigeration was used. He also designed and patented the ‘Universal’ Lightfoot Dry Air Refrigerator, of which a considerable number were installed in British and foreign warships between 1885 and 1904. The Dry Air Refrigerator was superseded by the open type Ammonia and CO 2 compressors, and ultimately by the current VT and AF range of compressors.
Our Mission
Regardless of the context or requirements; to deliver Innovative, Quality products that are fit for purpose and represent value for money to all our clients.
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What we do

In a desire to remain innovative and up-to-date, in addition to the detailed design abilities and facilities at Lightfoot, Lightfoot runs its own Research and Development section. The section incorporates a climate chamber; from which it can test equipment at a wide range of environmental conditions, and uses the latest refrigeration equipment (such as the iManifold, that can wirelessly monitor and trend different readings simultaneously) to develop and perfect design and innovation.

One example of successful work that emerged from the R&D is our Refrigeration Reclaim unit.

There are numerous innovations currently in the development stage, including a unique new concept of a dehumidifier.

The in-house International Design Team contributes a wealth of experience, expertise, knowledge and exemplify the company’s values (quality, innovation and design) and work alongside brand values. Giving Lightfoot a consistent design approach and allowing design to set benchmark standards within the industry has seen the company rewarded with numerous international Contracts.

Lightfoot is fully conversant with the requirements for both military and industry applications, including noise, vibration, EMC and safety both in the UK and abroad.

Lightfoot can incorporate the following into holistic service requirements:

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
    Computational Fluid Dynamics is used to simulate the effect of fluid and heat in, or around, a given assembly.
  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
    Engineers can provide advanced Finite Element Analysis support on some of the most technically challenging projects to some of the most notable national and international oil & gas, nuclear and renewable energy entities.
  • Global Dynamic Analysis (OrcaFlex)
    Global Dynamic Analysis can be done using OrcaFlex, one of the world’s leading Global Dynamic Analysis software packages.

Lightfoot is the UK’s leading manufacturer of hand built reciprocating compressors for specialist Low Magnetic applications for military use, (especially mine warfare vessels).

This range of compressors are precision built at Lightfoot’s manufacturing facility in Hampshire UK, the compressors are an integral part of the comprehensive ‘systems packages’.

Lightfoot employs security cleared engineers to undertake installation and commissioning projects worldwide.

This facilitates a more holistic project approach, and we are therefore better able to manage the resources and phases of installation and commissioning (often including customer training).

Previous installations include Japan, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Germany, amongst others.

As part of Lightfoot’s commitment to long-term customer satisfaction, a total maintenance and service solution is offered on all projects.

We have teams of engineers strategically located throughout the UK and worldwide who provide planned preventative maintenance, reactive maintenance, full facilities maintenance, site surveys, and produce and undertake servicing routines; from calendar-based servicing to a more realistic ‘time run’ approach.

Lightfoot Defence provides, through our ISO9001 accreditation, a complete training package, starting from individual project Training Management Plans, Training Needs Analysis work and then through delivery of training with quality-controlled lesson plans, documents, and facilities. Our qualified trainers work hard to assist customers with their understanding of equipment, servicing, fault diagnostics and calibration techniques. We are continually internally and externally audited so you can rest assured that our training provision is of the highest quality.

In the past we have trained MOD personnel, foreign Navies and Air Forces, as well as our own staff and industry specific customers.

Lightfoot has Prince 2 and APMP qualified experienced Project Managers within the company.

Lightfoot applies methodologies to their project plans and execution ensuring that projects are carried out efficiently with clarity, both at home and abroad. 

Lightfoot will follow submissions, through the review and validation of proposals. Ensuring confirmation that the contractor understands the project requirements as defined in the Technical Specification and thus ensuring that there are no gaps or misunderstandings with what is to be supplied.

Lightfoot offer consultancy on UK, EU and International regulations and provide organisations with a service that is tailored to meet its specific product compliance needs.

Activities include:

  • Providing advice and information relating to Directives, Regulations, Standards and Legislation.
  • Managing a company’s Third Party Certification requirements; organising and supervising product testing; preparing documentation; liaising with suppliers, service providers and test houses.
  • Representing a company and its views on technical committees and/or at various stages in the development of standards.
  • Providing and training on good installation practice, regulations, product compliance and certification issues for organisations and their clients.


The list is by no means exhaustive, and our range of expertise that we can offer consultancy for includes your business needs and execution of project.

As an independent manufacturer of refrigeration plants, Lightfoot supplies parts for almost every compressor make, with particular emphasis on the Carrier, Bock, & Bitzer brands.

Lightfoot has a history dating back to 1885 as a designer, contractor and manufacturer of refrigeration systems, therefore has a comprehensive predated document file system, which enables us to assist with enquiries regarding miscellaneous parts and technical enquiries.

Working daily with enquiries for replacement parts to refrigeration plants delivered 25-30 years ago, our extensive archive & detailed obsolescence plan ensures customers have the correct replacement part in quick time.

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Current Vacancies

We do not have any other vacancies at the current time, but if you think you would be a good fit for Lightfoot Defence, please submit your CV below, or email it to support@lightfootdefence.com 

Submit your CV