The Nieuport 17 was based on the Nieuport 11. But the Nieuport 17 had a more powerful engine and bigger wings. The first aircraft were equipped with a 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhone engine. The variant with two machine guns was powered by a Clerget radial engine with a power of 130 horsepower (97 kW). The Nieuport 17 had excellent manoeuvrability; however the lower wing got broken sometimes, if it got overstressed.
Primarily it was planned to equip it with a moveable Lewis machine gun. But with the introduction of synchronized machine guns, the Lewis machine gun was replaced by a Vickers machine gun. The aircraft was first used in March 1916 by the French Air Force over France.