Nieuport 20

The Nieuport 20 was a variant of the Nieuport 12 two-seater that was produced in small numbers for the RFC late in 1916. The standard Nieuport 12 was powered by a Clerget engine, but in British service some of these aircraft had been re-engined with an 110hp Le Rhône engine. By the summer of 1916 the RFC wanted more of these aircraft, and the French agreed to provide thirty newly built Le Rhône powered aircraft, with the official designation of the Nieuport 20.

The Nieuport 20 shared the standard layout of most Nieuport biplanes of this period, with sesquiplane wings (the lower wing having almost the same span as the upper, but half the length), and a flat sided fuselage.

The first two of these aircraft were delivered on 15 September 1916, but by this point the British were more interested in the single-seat Nieuport 17. In late October the French agreed that ten of the Nieuport 20s could be delivered as Nieuport 17s instead, and eventually only 21 of the two-seat aircraft were delivered.

The Nieuport 20 saw service on the Western Front with No.1 Squadron, the first to get the type, and with No.46 Squadron, where they operated alongside the Nieuport 12 before both types were replaced by the Sopwith Pup in April 1917. It was also used by the home-based No.39 Squadron for a couple of months in mid-1916, alongside a range of other types.

Engine: Le Rhône 9Jb
Power: 110hp
Crew: 2
Span: 29ft 6in
Length: 22ft 11.5in
Height: 9ft 10.25in
Empty weight: 999lb
Maximum take-off weight: 1,658lb
Max speed: 98mph at sea level
Climb Rate: 12.05min to 6,560ft

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 November 2014), Nieuport 20 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_nieuport_20.html

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