Design of the Breguet 16 was essentially a scaled-up version of Breguet's highly successful 14 - a conventionally configured biplane with two-bay, unstaggered, equal-span wings. Trials in 1918 proved highly promising, and production in mass by several French manufacturers under licences from Breguet was planned for 1919. These plans were discarded upon the Armistice, but more limited production was revived in the early 1920s as the French Air Force began a programme of modernisation.
In service, the single-engine Breguet 16 was used to replace obsolete twin-engine Farman F.50s in the night bomber role as the Bre.16Bn.2. Some of the 200 aircraft built were deployed to Syria and Morocco, and Breguet also managed to sell some to the military air arms of China and Czechoslovakia.