The American company that supplies the Predator and Reaper dronesused to assassinate insurgents in Afghanistan and elsewhere has complained to a committee of MPs about the image problem of such weapons.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, which also manufactures the Avenger and Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft, says the word drone has "pejorative connotations".
In a written submission to the defence select committee inquiry into remote-controlled warfare, the company says the term drone is misleading because it "belies their proven beneficial role in humanitarian crises".
It points out that its own military marketed products have been used for peaceful purposes. "Predator B [the Reaper's former name] has been used in the US with considerable success to prove relief from floods, forest fires and hurricanes," it says.