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Nieuport 12

France (1915)
Picture of Nieuport 12 Reconnaissance / Fighter / Trainer Aircraft

The twin-seat Nieuport 12 was a larger and faster version of the preceding single-seat Nieuport 10 biplane fighter model.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Nieuport 12 Reconnaissance / Fighter / Trainer Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/15/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Air superiority became a back-and-forth affair for the air services involved in World War 1 (1914-1915). This opened the field of military aviation for a slew of companies to make their mark on history. The famous French concern of Nieuport became a prominent player in the war and revealed its first purpose-built fighter through the Nieuport 11 "Bebe" of 1915. The Bebe held its origins in the earlier Nieuport 10 of 1914 and both aircraft were designed by Gustave Delage beginning his successful wartime career for the Frenchman.

While the single-seat Nieuport 10 begat the popular single-seat Nieuport 11 model, it also formed the basis of a new production mark in the two-seat Nieuport 12 - conceived of as an artillery reconnaissance platform and fighting scout before ending her days as a trainer. The "Model 12" became essentially a dimensionally larger version of the Model 10 with a new engine installation. It followed typical biplane design of the period with a front-mounted engine driving a two-blade propeller, an upper and lower wing assembly, and a traditional single-finned tail unit. It sat two crew in tandem with the pilot under the upper wing mainplane and the rear gunner/observer aft of the structure. A consistent physical design quality of these early Delage aircraft was their use of "V-struts" between the upper and lower wing spans. The undercarriage was fixed with wheels under center mass and a simple tailskid at the rear. Power could be served through either a Clerget or Le Rhone engine developing 110 to 130 horsepower output depending on installation.

As an armed scout, the Nieuport 12 was fitted with a .303 Lewis machine gun at the rear cockpit. This gun sat on a Nieuport/Scraff ring to allow it to be trained on incoming enemy threats from the vulnerable rear areas of the aircraft. A second Lewis gun was sometimes fitted over the upper wing element and within reach of the rear gunner - allowing for some frontal offensive "punch".

The Nieuport 12 series was produced in a variety of countries throughout its service life but primarily, during the war years, by both France and the United Kingdom (through Beardmore). British models replaced their rear cockpit Nieuport gun rings with the Scarff type system and a .303 Vickers was installed for the pilot.
The Nieuport 12A.2 became the principle fighter-reconnaissance mark and these carried either the French Clerget 9Z or Le Rhone 9J series engines of 110 horsepower. The Nieuport 12bis C.2 followed and was outfitted with the more powerful Clerget 9B of 130 horsepower as well as some aerodynamic refinements. The British Beardmore-produced Model 12s evolved to feature numerous modifications to the French design to better suit British Air Service requirements though powerplants remained consistent. The Nieuport 20 was an RFC-only model fitted with the Le Rhone 9J of 110 horsepower - twenty-one examples being produced and its early forms based largely on the original French 12bis C.2 form.

In time, the Nieuport 12 was found to be sufficient as a trainer as well (its two-seat configuration benefitting this) and thusly the Nieuport 80E.2 and 81E.2 were produced to fulfill the requirement. The gun ring was deleted in this mark and power came from a Le Rhone 9C of 80 horsepower. The two designations differentiated the cockpit control schemes - the 80E.2 was a dual-control form (controls in both cockpits) and the 81.E2 featured the controls only in the rear cockpit.

Beyond these operational marks there lay limited production forms such as the "Nieuport 13" - a pair of prototypes with extended wing elements and different engine installations. "Sipowicz 1" was an experimental Polish variant with revised wing structure units. The Japanese operated as many as 57 locally-built Nieuport 80E.2 trainers under the "Army Type Ko 1 Trainer" designation - these manufactured by Mitsubishi - further reinforcing their batch of 40 81E.2s delivered from Nieuport.

Other operators included Argentina (navy), Belgium, Chile (single example only), Estonia (post-war), Greece (navy), Portugal, Romania, the Russian Empire/Soviet Union, Serbia, Thailand (as Siam, single example only), and the United States (the American Expeditionary Force - AEF).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (90mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Nieuport 12's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1000
1000


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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National Origin: France
Service Year: 1915
Classification Type: Reconnaissance / Fighter / Trainer Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Nieuport - France / Beardmore - UK / Mitsubishi - Imperial Japan
Production Units: 1,000
Operational Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
Argentina; Belgium; Chile; France; Estonia; Greece; Japan; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Imperial Russia; Serbia; Soviet Union; Thailand; United Kingdom; United States
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Nieuport 12 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
22.97 ft


Meters
7 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
29.53 ft


Meters
9 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,213 lb


Kilograms
550 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,874 lb


Kilograms
850 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
Variable: 1 x Clerget 9Z / Le Rhone 9J engine developing 110 horsepower; 1 x Clerget 9B engine of 130 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
90 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
145 kph


Knots
78 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
264 mi


Kilometers
425 km


Nautical Miles
229 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
12,992 ft


Meters
3,960 m


Miles
2.46 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

TYPICAL:
1 x .303 Lewis machine gun (or similar) in trainable rear cockpit position.

OPTIONAL:
1 x .303 Lewis machine gun over upper wing mainplane.
1 x .303 Vickers machine gun at pilot's position
Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Nieuport 12 - Base Series Designation
• Nieuport 12 A.2 - Primary reconnaissance model; Clerget 9Z or Le Rhone 9J engines of 110 horsepower.
• Nieuport 12bis C.2 - Improved Model 12 with Clerget 9B engine of 130 horsepower.
• Nieuport 13 - Prototype pair with different engines and lengthened wings.
• Nieuport 20 - Outfitted with Le Rhone 9J engine of 110 horsepower for British Air Service (RFC) use.
• Nieuport 80E.2 - Trainer with dual control scheme
• Nieuport 81E.2 - Trainer with controls in rear cockpit only.
• Army Type Ko 1 Trainer - Japanese trainer based on the 81E.2; some local production by Mitsubishi as well.
• Sipowicz Model 1 - Polish experimental aircraft with revised wing structure.
• Trainer Type 1 - Thai/Siam designation for 80E.2 trainer; sole aircraft procured.