Our Story

Kevin Weldon

Our Founder, Kevin Weldon
was inspired in 2005

Ripper Corp was founded by Kevin Weldon in 2005, inspired by the use of drones in disaster relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina. 

When the hurricane hit New Orleans, drones were used to search flooded streets for survivors and were able to locate 5,000 victims who were stranded in their flooded homes. 

These drones transmitted images back to central control, enabling rescue teams to make informed dispatch decisions. 

This was the first time drones were deployed in a disaster and demonstrated their potential to save lives.

It would take 10 years, but Kevin was sure this was just the beginning of drones in search and rescue.


You little ripper!

In 2015, Ripper Group was born

Our Founder, Kevin Weldon had spent years reflecting on that rescue and looking to the future of UAV technology and search and rescue. He knew there was great potential in this space, in fact, he knew there was potential to revolutionise an industry and transform how we save lives. We just needed to pull it off and prove the capabilities of this technology.


We wanted to make a splash in the world of search and rescue

As the founding president of the International Life Saving Federation, Kevin Weldon had extensive experience in surf lifesaving innovation and knew firsthand how drones could improve the reach, speed, and success rate of rescue operations in Australia. 

Throughout his time with the International Life Saving Federation, Kevin played a key role in the development of the Lifesaver Rescue Helicopters, inflatable rescue boats, and torpedo rescue tubes.

On this, Kevin Weldon said, “The aim is to accomplish things with search and rescue that were impossible to even dream about 10 or 20 years ago.”

In 2018, we pulled off our first rescue operation

In January 2018 we achieved our first rescue. Using this drone technology we’d been developing, we were called on to achieve the first water rescue. Our Little Ripper Lifesaver drone supported the rescue of two teenage boys in wild surf at Lennox Head beach, roughly 750 kilometres north of Sydney.

The Little Ripper Lifesaver drone dropped a ‘rescue pod’ — a device designed to self-inflate once hitting the water. This pivotal rescue involved two people, who were able to stay safe on the beach: Surf Life Saving NSW’s Jai Sheridan, who flew the drone and a Little Ripper senior trainer. A huge day for Ripper Corp and Surf Life Saving NSW, this marked what is believed to be the first time a drone was involved in ocean rescue globally.

This innovation soon extended to natural disasters in our country. At the end of 2019, bushfires devastated Australia.


In late 2019 and early 2020, Australia was heavily impacted by bushfires. Ripper Corp partnered with WIRES, the Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation, to search for and rescue animals affected by the fires. 

Our drone technology, equipped with infrared and thermal imaging, allowed us to quickly locate and assess fires and detect movement within the fires, indicating the presence of wildlife. 

By working with WIRES, the Ripper Rescue Alliance was able to locate and rescue animals such as koalas and kangaroos, reducing search time from five hours to just 10 minutes.

Ripper Corp

In 2021, we merged with Surf Life Saving Queensland

Up until this point, we’d been partnering with Surf Life Saving Queensland as a provider of the drones and technology they used in this space. In 2021, we merged. The idea of our coming together was to enhance the development of these products and strengthen our operations. We’d been building towards the same goals — so it made sense.

The merger has meant that Ripper Corp's work in search and rescue drone deployment, as well as our research and training, can now directly benefit Surf Life Saving Queensland. We’re advancing how they use UAV and AI technology in their operations.

“It made sense that rather than continue to contract with The Ripper Group as a provider, that we invest in the business. Drones are a phenomenal way of achieving our mission to save lives… [The Ripper Group is] the right fit culturally to help us drive changes that will ultimately modernise and transform the organisation.”

Grant Dearlove, SLSQ Director 

& Ripper Corp board Co-Chair 

Today, we’re sharing it all with you

We’re so proud of everything we’ve accomplished to date. But we’re not even nearly done. Today, we’re sharing our advancements in this space with you.

The Ripper Academy

Become a Little Ripper. With some of the best and most experienced pilots in unmanned aviation, a partnership with DJI, and our history in the industry, we’re raising the next generation of drone pilots.

Partner with us

Join us at and be at the forefront of the future of drones. We are proud of our partnerships and the progress we have made in areas such as search and rescue, emergency services, and infrastructure.

Ready to join the future of drones?

Drones and drone technology are in an era of innovation. Ripper Corp is the team leading that innovation from the front. You can view our courses and their upcoming dates or request a callback to engage us for your drone operations.