Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024) Special Forces
Aviation / Aerospace

Nieuport Nighthawk

Biplane Fighter Aircraft [ 1923 ]

The Nighthawk was plagued early on with an overheating engine, though the design showed enough promise as a whole to set a speed record during its time aloft.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/15/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Nieuport Nighthawk began as a design showing great promise. Development began in 1918, the final year of World War 1, and was the product of the Nieuport & General Aircraft firm - a British-based company started during the war to produce French-made Nieuport fighters as needed. This experience no doubt led to some self-empowering as the firm began design work on their own products under the direction of Henry Folland that would eventually give birth to the Nieuport Nighthawk, a fighter of great performance and capability but marred by and unstable and relatively new engine.

To understand the history of the Nighthawk itself, one must revisit the war years. A requirement was put forth by the British Air Ministry for a fighter powered by the new ABC Dragonfly engine, a radial type designed to output some 340 horsepower and was of relatively light weight. This new type of fighter would eventually replace the aging Sopwith Snipe types in service. Nieuport & General went to work under Folland and produced the Nighthawk but by this time the war was long over and the Dragonfly powerplant was beginning to show some ugly results. The engine had a propensity to overheat and proved to be quite the gas-guzzler. Additionally, the engine was designed to a fault to where it vibrated heavily in the airframe. Despite this, it was a promising engine married to a promising airframe. As such, the Nighthawk still impressed when the powerplant allowed it to do so.

Despite the progress there were simply too many negatives attached to the engine and the entire powerplant development was cancelled. This came too late for the Nighthawk design, of which some 70 had already been completed despite the problems. By 1920, Nieuport & General itself had gone away and the design was eventually purchased under the Gloster label, to which the aircraft became the Gloster Mars. From there, a variety of Nighthawk-based designs began to appear, some as sport racing aircraft with more powerful engines and subtle design changes whilst others were produced for military service in the British and Japanese branches.

During its lifetime, the Nighthawk and its derivatives were subject to engine changes as seen fit, some sporting Bentleys and Siddeley brands while others were powered by Bristol brand engines. Armament consisted of a World War 1 type arrangement of twin 7.7mm Vickers machine guns mounted in front of the pilot and firing through a synchronized two-blade propeller. Overall design was also consisted with World War 1 types in that the Nighthawk featured a standard biplane design layout.

Greece became just the third operator of the Nighthawk when it acquired some 25 Nighthawks from the British RAF.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Nieuport & General Aircraft Company Ltd - UK
the United Kingdom, Japan and Greece.
Operators National flag of Greece National flag of modern Japan National flag of the United Kingdom
Service Year
United Kingdom
National Origin
Project Status

General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.

18.0 ft
(5.49 meters)
28.0 ft
(8.53 meters)
9.0 ft
(2.74 meters)
1,504 lb
(682 kilograms)
Empty Weight
2,529 lb
(1,147 kilograms)
Maximum Take-Off Weight
+1,025 lb
(+465 kg)
Weight Difference

1 x ABC Dragonfly I 9-cylinder radial engine developing 340hp.
150 mph
(241 kph | 130 knots)
Max Speed
24,898 ft
(7,589 m | 5 miles)
310 miles
(499 km | 269 nm)

MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

2 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns


Nighthawk - Production Model Designation; fitted with ABC Dragonfly engine.
Gloster Bamel (Mars 1) - single production racing variant based on the Nighthawk; fitted with Napier Lion engine of 450 horsepower.
Gloster 1 - Improved Gloster Bamel (Mars 1) model with smaller wing area and improved engine output.
Gloster Sparrowhawk (Mars II, III, IV) - Japanese naval fighter designation.
Gloster Nighthawk (Mars VI) - Based on Nighthawk model but fitted with either Jaguar OR Jupiter type engines.
Nieuport Nightjar (Mars X) - British naval fighter designation.

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for Special Forces
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft


1 / 1
Image of the Nieuport Nighthawk

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)