Nieuport 12

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Nieuport 12
Nieuport 12 A.2.jpg
Nieuport 12 A.2 prototype
Role Reconnaissance(Artillery)/Fighter/Trainer
Manufacturer Nieuport
Designer Gustave Delage
First flight 1915
Introduction 1915
Status retired
Primary users France
Russian Empire
United Kingdom
Produced 1915-1918
Number built 300+[1]
Developed from Nieuport 10

The Nieuport 12 was a French biplane reconnaissance, fighter aircraft and trainer used by France, Russia, Great Britain and the United States during World War I. Later production examples were built as trainers and served widely until the late 1920s.

Design and development[edit]

To improve the performance of the Nieuport 10 a larger and re-engined version was developed as the Nieuport 12. A Lewis gun was fitted to the rear cockpit for use by the observer, normally on an Etévé ring (known as the Nieuport ring in British service) although early examples used a pedestal mount or half ring. A second Lewis was sometimes fitted to fire over the top wing. Nieuport 12s built by Beardmore used by the Royal Flying Corps were sometimes fitted with a Scarff ring instead of the Nieuport ring, and a synchronized Vickers gun for the pilot. Additional modifications were made to those built by Beardmore.

It could be fitted with either a 100 hp (75 kW) Clerget, 130 hp (97 kW) Clerget 9B engine or 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhône 9J mounted in the nose.


American Nieuport 80 E.2 trainer
Royal Flying Corps Nieuport 12 built by Beardmore. Note elevator stripes which were a Beardmore trademark.
Nieuport 12 A.2
Two-seat fighter-reconnaissance biplane, powered by 110 hp (82 kW) Clerget 9Z engine.[2] or 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhône 9J.
Nieuport 12bis C.2
Revised version with 130 hp (97 kW) Clerget 9B engine and streamlined side fairings.[3]
Nieuport 13
Two prototypes with increased span but same nominal wing area as 12. One powered by a 140 hp (100 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8, and the other by an 80 hp (60 kW) Le Rhône 9C.
Nieuport 20
Version powered by 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhône 9J. Not used by France, but 21 delivered to Royal Flying Corps.[4] All but first examples externally similar to 12bis.
23 meter Nieuport
Unofficial generic designation for all types listed here based on nominal wing area of 23 square meters.
Nieuport 80 E.2 and 81 E.2
Nieuport 12s were later built in large numbers specifically as training aircraft with the gun ring removed. 8 in designation referred to 80 hp (60 kW) Le Rhône 9C. These differed in having flight controls for just the pilot in the rear seat (81 E.2), or both pilot and passenger (80 E.2).
Nieuport 12 (Beardmore)
Beardmore progressively redesigned the Nieuport 12 during production so early examples were almost stock but late production examples differed considerably in detail. These were fitted with 110 hp (82 kW) Clerget 9Z and 130 hp (97 kW) Clerget 9B rotaries.
Mitsubishi Army Type Ko 1 Trainer
Japanese designation for licence built Nieuport 81 E.2s. 57 built.[5]
Trainer Type 1
Siamese designation for Nieuport 80 E.2.
Sipowicz 1
Polish experimental aircraft using lifting struts similar to the Wright-Bellanca WB-2.


One aircraft only.
 Russian Empire
Serbian Air Force
 Thailand (Siam)
 United Kingdom
 United States
 Soviet Union
Workers' and Peasants' Air Fleet


A single ex-French Nieuport 12 is on display following an extensive restoration (including reinstalling the original Le Rhône 9J rotary engine) at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa in the late 1990s. This aircraft was donated to the Canadian Dominion Archives along with a Canon de 75 modèle 1897 cannon and an extensive collection of propaganda posters by the French Government in 1916 and was used for war bond drives until the 1918 flu pandemic resulted in it being placed in storage. In the late 1960s the Royal Canadian Air Force partially converted it into an RFC Beardmore example for display.

Specifications (French built Nieuport 12 with 110 hp Clerget engine)[edit]

Drawing of late production Beardmore-built Nieuport 12 with the full set of modifications

Data from The Complete Book of Fighters[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: two (pilot and observer)
  • Length: 7.00m (22ft 11½ in)
  • Wingspan: 9.00m (29ft 6in)
  • Height: ()
  • Wing area: 22.0m2 (237 sq feet)
  • Empty weight: 550kg (1,213lbs)
  • Loaded weight: 850 (1,874lbs)



  • 1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun on Etévé gun ring in rear cockpit and occasionally a second one on the upper wing

See also[edit]

Related development
Related lists



  1. ^ "les Nieuport de la guerre" (PDF). Retrieved Aug 2015. 
  2. ^ Bruce 1982, p.320.
  3. ^ Bruce 1982, p.323.
  4. ^ Bruce 1982, pp. 323—324.
  5. ^ a b Mikesh and Abe 1990, p. 176.
  6. ^ Green and Swanborough 1994, p.431.
  7. ^ Thetford 1978, p.263
  8. ^ Bruce, 1998, p


  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing. p. 2597. 
  • Bruce, J.M. (1988). Nieuport Aircraft of World War One - Vintage Warbirds No 10. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 0-85368-934-2. 
  • Bruce, J.M. (1998). Nieuport 10~12 - Windsock Datafile 68. Herts: Albratros Publications. ISBN 1-902207-01-7. 
  • Bruce, J.M. (1982). The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-30084-X. 
  • Green, W; Swanborough, G (1994). The Complete Book of Fighters. Smithmark. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8. 
  • Mikesh, Robert C.; Abe, Shorzoe (1990). Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. ISBN 0-85177-840-2. 
  • Sanger, Ray (2002). Nieuport Aircraft of World War One. Wiltshire: Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-447-X. 
  • Thetford, Owen (1978). British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Fourth ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.