The Nieuport 27 was the last in the long series of Nieuport sesquiplane fighters that had begun with the Nieuport 10 and Nieuport 11, and was very similar to the previous version, the Nieuport Type 24.
The Nieuport 27 was the last of the company's fighters to use the basic design introduced on the Nieuport 10 and Nieuport 11. It was basically a version of the Nieuport 24, with a modified undercarriage. The Nieuport 27 was the first of the Nieuport scouts to use a hinged tail skid that greatly reduced the potential damage to the tail when the skid failed on landing. It also had a new main undercarriage with a two-part axle pivoting in the middle and connected to the fuselage by bungee cord. It also used the new tail introduced on the Nieuport 24, which introduced a fixed fin with the rudder attached in place of the balanced rudder of earlier Nieuport fighters. It was powered by a 120hp or 130hp Le Rhône engine.
The RFC hoped to receive 120 Nieuport 27s, and did get 71, delivered between August and October 1917. These aircraft were urgently required to fill gaps in existing Nieuport squadrons, and it was hoped that the interchangeable parts with the Nieuport 24 would aid maintenance. By this time the type was verging on the obsolete, but it remained in British service well into 1918, with the last front line aircraft leaving No.29 Squadron on 20 April. On the Western Front it was used by No.1 Squadron for the last quarter of 1917, No.29 Squadron from October 1917,
The French made very little use of the Nieuport 27, instead preferring to concentrate on the superior Spad fighters (the Nieuport was considered entirely unsuitable for use on the Western Front). By 1 April 1918 the Nieuport scouts had disappeared from all of the French fighter squadrons, which were all totally equipped with Spads.
The Americans ordered 287 to use as training aircraft for the Expeditionary Force in France, although not all of these aircraft were actually delivered. It was used by the 21st Aero Squadron and 37th Aero Squadron, both training units.
In Japan the Nieuport 27 was produced under licence by Nakajima, although it shared the same Ko.3 designation as the earlier Nieuport 24.
The type was also produced under licence by Macchi in Italy.
The Nieuport 27 was Gustave Delage's last attempt to get more life out of his sesquiplane fighter designs. His next fighter, the Nieuport 28, would be a much more conventional biplane.
Engine: Le Rhône rotary
Span: 26ft 10.75in
Length: 19ft 2.33in
Height: 7ft 11.25in
Empty weight: 838lb
Maximum take-off weight: 1,289lb
Max speed: 115mph at sea level
Service ceiling: 18,210ft
Range: 155 miles
Armament: Lewis gun on upper wing and/ or synchronised Vickers gun