France's main fighter maker
Nieuport, from Edouard Nieuport(1875–1911) was arguably, before the arrival of the SPADs and UK's major models from Sopwith and RAF, the main entente fighter. Propelled by rotating Gnome engines, these sesquiplan were built by the thousands, were flawn by all aviations, and spawn the first aces. It all started from a engine part manufacturer, Nieuport-Duplex in 1902. Reformed in 1909, it became the Société Générale d'Aéro-locomotion
, and started to produce aviation engine parts like ignition systems, and soon started to work on a first fully-fledged aircraft, a small single-seat monoplane destroyed after a first flight. The second plane flown at the end of 1909 and was more advanced with its enclosed fuselage and horizontal tail balancing the weight of the engine ahead of the center of gravity, an original solution contrary to the Blériot XI.
Nieuport did not had the engines it wanted and eventually started their own engine line in 1910 with a twin-cylinder horizontally-opposed engine which produced 28 hp (21 kW) the Nieuport II
used. The next year in 1911, the company started to build complete aircrafts aside its components production and propellers (Deplante) and the next year as Edouard Nieuport died in flight, the company was managed by Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, a rich and famous supporter of early aviation and racing. The company became the Société Anonyme des Établissements Nieuport
and the second of the brothers, Charles Nieuport, died in another accident in 1912, the chief designer became the Swiss Franz Schneider which would join later in 1913 German L.V.G. and work with Anthony Fokker, creating the famous synchronizer that changed aerial combat.
Nieuport 11 baby displayed at the Musée de l'Air in France
Gustave Delage in turn became Nieuport's new chief designer in January 1914, working on a sesquiplane racer biplane with a specific top wing. Not really fit for production when WW1 broke out, the model was refined into the Nieuport 10
which saw extensive service with the French, Russian aviations and the Royal Naval Air Service (R.N.A.S.). The Nieuport 10 was quickly replaced by the more powerful Nieuport 12
, which served with the Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.) as fighters. The Nieuport 11 "baby"
was based on the Nieuport 10 and was both smaller and more agile. The next models would evolve in gradual improvements culminating with the Nieuport 27
. "V-strut" sesquiplane wing shape required careful handling with a power that almost doubled over time, and there was the risk of structural failures. In April 1917 the last Nieuport was found already outclassed by the Albatros D.III and delays meant Nieuport 27s were only available in the spring of 1918. Many of these in French and American service were found reclassed as advanced trainers in flying schools until the end of the war. Pilots like Albert Ball and Charles Nungesser adored the Nieuport for its agility and very sensitive controls. Eddie Rickenbacker and Billy Bishop also used the Nieuport in their early career.
Nieuport 27 trainer of the 31st Aero squadron.
The Nieuport 28
was a completely new design with two spars on the upper and lower wings and was at last sturdy enough for its engines. Unfortunately it arrived when the French had already made their mind and chosed the SPAD S.XIII
. Only shortage of the SPAD drove fighter squadrons of the United States Army Air Service (USAAS) to operate the Nieuport 28
instead, first fighter to be used on operations by an American squadron. Nieuports were also built under licence in Italy, Russia and the UK (William Beardmore of Scotland).
As usual, production models are in bold letters (military only), with production figures in brackets.
- Nieuport I 1910 pod and boom tractor monoplane
- Nieuport II 1910 sport/racing monoplane
- Nieuport III 1911 sport/racing monoplane
- Nieuport IV 1911 two-seat sport/racing monoplane.
- Nieuport VI 1912 three-seat sport monoplane (French Navy, RNAS)
- Nieuport VIII 1913 two-seat sport monoplane
- Nieuport X 1913 three-seat monoplane (French Navy)
- Nieuport XI prototype single-seat sport monoplane
- Nieuport XIII prototype armoured monoplane
- Nieuport-Dunne tailless biplane prototype 1913
- Nieuport-Astra Carton-Pate military twin-boom floatplane 1915
- Nieuport 9 (Russian Nieuport 10)
- Nieuport 10 sesquiplane 1915 (2000?)
- Nieuport 83 trainer version (Nieuport 10) 1915 (?)
- Nieuport 11 sesquiplane fighter 1916 (7200)
- Nieuport 12 two-seat artillery spotting sesquiplane 1915 (300)
- Nieuport 80/81 trainer Nieuport 12 1915 (?)
- Nieuport 12bis two-seat artillery-spotting sesquiplane 1915 (?)
- Nieuport 13 Modified Nieuport 12 1915 (2)
- Nieuport 14 two-seat reconnaissance sesquiplane 1915 (100)
- Nieuport 82: Nieuport 14 trainer 1915 (?)
- Nieuport 15 sesquiplane bomber 1916 (4)
- Nieuport 16 fighter (mod. Nieuport 11) 1916 (3000?)
- Nieuport 17/17 bis fighter 1916 (3600)
- Nieuport 18 twin-engine sesquiplane bomber 1916 (?)
- Nieuport 19 twin-engine sesquiplane bomber prototype
- Nieuport 20: Nieuport 12 development 1916 (21)
- Nieuport 21: Light weight fighter mod. Nieuport 17 1916 (300+)
- Nieuport 23 Mod. Nieuport 17 with Vickers MG (?)
- Nieuport 24 Mod. Nieuport 17 with new fuselage and empennage. (?)
- Nieuport 24bis same retrofitted with Nieuport 17 rudder and tail (?)
- Nieuport 25 with larger Clerget engine 1917 (small prod.)
- Nieuport 26 prototype (Hispano-Suiza 8A engine).
- Nieuport 27 1917 mod. Nieuport 24 fighter (1000)
- Nieuport 28 biplane fighter US Expeditionary Forces Air Service (300)