The Nieuport 11 was basically a smaller, simplified version of the Nieuport 10 - designed specifically as a single-seat fighter. Like the "10" the "11" was a sesquiplane, a biplane with a full-sized top wing with two spars, and a lower wing of much narrower chord. Interplane struts in the form of a "Vee" joined the single spar lower wing to the broader, twin-spar structure upper wing on each side. While the sesquiplane layout offers reduced drag and a higher rate of climb, as well as improved view from the cockpit, the narrow lower wing tends to flutter and twist under stress, especially at high air speeds. This was a problem with the "vee-strut" Nieuports, as well as the German Albatros D.III and V, which adopted a generally similar wing design.
Nieuport 11s were supplied to the Aéronautique Militaire, the Royal Naval Air Service, Belgium, Russia and Italy. 646 were produced by the Italian Macchi company under licence.
In 1916 an improved version appeared as the Nieuport 16 which was a strengthened Nieuport 11 airframe powered by a 110 hp (92 kW) Le Rhône 9J rotary engine. Visible differences included a larger aperture in front of the "horse shoe" cowling and a headrest for the pilot. Later versions had a fuselage-mounted synchronized Vickers gun, but in this configuration the combined effect of the heavier 9J engine and the Vickers gun compromised maneuverability and made the craft nose-heavy. The next variant, the slightly larger Nieuport 17 C.1, was designed for the heavier engine and machine gun with a new, full-perimeter ring cowl, and remedied the 16's c.g. problems, as well as improving performance.
Nieuport 11 : Single-seat fighter-scout biplane. The type was also known as the Nieuport Scout and Nieuport Bebe.
Nieuport 16 : Improved version. Single-seat fighter-scout biplane, powered by a 110 hp (92 kW) Le Rhone 9J rotary piston engine.