The Nieuport 16 was developed from the Nieuport 11, with which it had many similarities. It was equipped with the more powerful 110 horsepower Le Rhóne 9J engine, as well ash wings of a greater wingspan than on the Nieuport 11, a combination that gave it superior flight performance.
The Nieuport 16 was armed with a Lewis machine gun mounted on the upper wing. With the introduction of synchronized machine guns, Vickers machine guns were mounted. To destroy airships, it was equipped with upwardly inclined, electrically fired Le-Prieur missiles, which were attached to the wing struts.