This история somewhat out of the general outline, since it concerns matters not as long ago as the Second World War, but nevertheless, the story is more than amazing. And it is amazing how you can make a lot out of nothing, having a head and a desire.
However, we will judge at the end of our story, but it seems to me that Daniel Guillermo Gionko, who was the first to present this story, somewhat even underestimated the merits of his (and our) hero.
Let's get acquainted. Julio Marcelo Perez. Electronic engineer. Our first hero.
Not much is known about Peres. There are more Peres in Argentina than Smirnovs in Russia in percentage terms, and, most importantly, Captain Perez, who died as an admiral, was a person who did not like attention to his person.
The second hero, more precisely, the heroes, is the French engineers and designers from the well-known company Aerospatial, who in the distant 1974 created, as it turned out, a very successful cruise missile Exocet (Flying Fish).
The missile was of a medium range, very maneuverable and could fly very low above the water. In general - a flying fish, as it is. And the fact that Exocet is still relevant and is in service with many countries (modern models, of course), suggests that the missile turned out to be quite.
And if you look at how many ships were sunk by the "Exocets" during the Iran-Iraqi wars ... More than a hundred.
In general, having started churning out their "fish", without even having enough time to test, the French began to "cut the loot". And not only did the sale of MM-1978 ("ship-to-ship") began in 38, the next year Aerospatial also launched the AM-39 air-to-ship air-launched missile on the market. And also in a half-baked state, and even so modestly offering to buy rockets with launch vehicles in load.
It was something new in the world to offer complete cruise missiles and airplanes. But what was, it was. The Dassault-Breguet "Super Еtendard", a supersonic attack aircraft including deck-based, was offered in the load. Everything is normal for us, the whole world, of course, went crazy with such impudence.
But there were also those who liked such an offer. For example, Argentina, which slowly but very confidently depicted a conflict, and not with anyone, but with Great Britain over the Falkland / Malvinas Islands.
The Argentines managed to stock up on MM-38 “Exosets” well and even ordered 15 attack aircraft with AM-39 missiles. But they received only 5 sets out of 15. The British threw a grand diplomatic tantrum to the French and thwarted the deal. Moreover, at the same time, a deal was thwarted for Peru, which also wanted to acquire aircraft with Exocets.
In general, it is logical, what if the Peruvians will share with the Argentines? Who knows, these South Americans, they are ...
Well, to compensate for France's losses, the British bought Exocets (in general, not particularly necessary) in full. 300 pieces. As they say, the French had a business and nothing personal. Do you want our missiles not to be near your enemies? No question, get it.
In Argentina, they are really worried. They realized that things on the other side of the world were arranged by Great Britain so that Argentina began to have problems with supplies. And while the diplomats were bickering and arguing, a whole delegation from Argentina arrived at Aerospatial.
The delegation, let's say, was not only not impressive, it caused laughter among the French. Advanced (45) years for his rank, Captain Julio Perez and two midshipmen (junior lieutenants) Antonio Schucht and Luis Torelli.
In general, the delegates from the third world in the leading French firm did not arouse respect and respect. Yes, they were allowed to idly wander around the company, communicate with staff, even answered questions. Why not answer, well, what do these Argentine herders understand about fine technologies?
True, Captain Perez had a doctorate in engineering, and two midshipmen were his former graduate students and trainees ... And if at the base Perez graduated from the University of Buenos Aires with a degree in electronics engineer, then he defended his doctorate in aerospace engineering at the University of Rome. But Perez preferred not to talk about this.
Among other things, Perez worked in the CITEFA missile research and development department, designed and assembled the Exocet MM-38 on various ships of the Argentine Navy, and received AM-39 missiles along with aircraft.
In general, the Argentines walked like simpletons, looked, listened respectfully and shook their mustaches. More precisely, on Perez's mustache. And when they returned, they began to unwind.
Meanwhile, in 1982, Argentina was not doing well in the war. Yes, with the help of AM-39 they managed to send the missile destroyer Sheffield to the bottom and cut the container ship Atlantic Conveyor, which resulted in the loss of a large amount of military equipment to the British.
But all good things come to an end, and the "Exocets" AM-39 are over. Of course, there was nowhere to take the new ones. The British, completely brutalized from losses, began shelling Argentine positions day and night.
And it was here that captain Perez and his students came in handy. Their informal communication (well, yes, drunkenness) with French specialists resulted in the creation of a "you-know-what and sticks" type launcher.
In principle, everything that was at hand was used. The main thing is that the welder is sober and serious. This happens even in Argentina, and therefore something happened. Something was completely ugly, heavy, bulky and awkward.
Yes, it looked creepy. However, this monster could have fired an MM-38 “over there” rocket. Considering that there were much more MM-38 in the warehouses, the initiative was met with applause and pulque.
The computers controlling the Exocets remained on the ships, which were not particularly torn under the blows of the British squadron and submarines. The example of the lost cruiser General Belgrano quickly quenched the warlike fervor of the Argentine sailors. But dismantling a computer that is connected to all working networks of the ship is very difficult. Therefore, Perez coped less costly, but no less efficiently. With a hammer, pry bar and Argentine ...
As a result, he got a monster that is in no way inferior to transforming robots from the near future. Two launch containers with missiles, an inertial platform on gyro stabilizers, a guidance system and a generator to power all this with electricity. Cheap and tasteful.
The guidance system worked on ... radio tubes! Yes, bringing the installation into a combat state took an eternity by the standards of semiconductors, for lamps. However, the Argentines were in no hurry, and therefore speed was not so important. The main thing is to make it work. Oddly enough, this monster worked!
True, in a hurry they did not have time to make a proper horizontal aiming of the entire installation. Therefore, they decided to simply direct the launch containers to a certain sector and just wait for some British ship to enter there. For example, another destroyer that decided to shoot at Port Stanley.
Perez solved the hover issue in a very original way. There was a very serious issue with the software and the conversion of data from the radar: to find the target, they used a pulse-Doppler radar from Westinghouse, and its format was very different from that with which the smart Exocet worked. To sculpt "from what is" is not always convenient and easy.
In addition, the rocket itself required a lot of manipulation in order to get it where it was needed.
For this, Perez, together with his assistants Luis Torelli and Antonio Shugt, did a very decent job. To begin with, they cut all the cables and, using batteries and a tester, determined what signals and in what sequence the computer and the missile control unit were exchanging.
As a result, Perez gathered enough information to manually reprogram the control system.
The rocket had to simply be fooled, to make it believe that the signals it receives on its receivers come from its own radar. And Peres and his comrades have modeled and built a system that mimics the electrical control signals that a real on-board computer sent to the rocket in its original assembly.
The launch protocol has become a masterpiece of improvisation. How it looked in the original: the on-board computer on board the ship twice sent small data packets to the rocket (only 64 bits) and waited for it to return the signal in the same form. Without this, Exocet was not activated. Only then was the working information sent: distance, lift height, quadrant for target search and other parameters.
There was a radar, but not the same. There was no computer at all, it remained on the ship. But the rocket had to be activated and guided, because Peres did it simply: he upgraded the start protocol to fit his conditions, that is, he simply sewed a large packet with data on all search parameters into the activation bag. And without suffering especially, a large package was sent to the rocket three times.
Perez soldered the wires cut during the study by hand, with the help of his sons. As a result, by the evening of May 31, 1982, the mutant with French roots was ready. That is, the tube pribluda generated the necessary signals for the rocket to start and fly somewhere. The missiles were in containers on the launcher and were waiting in the wings.
They say that then Perez crossed himself according to the Catholic tradition and with a sigh said: "Further, the will of God, signors!"
The installation was named "ITB" (Instalación de Tiro Berreta), that is, "Installation for shooting" Beretta ". With a hint of simplicity, reliability and something else.
Then it became clear what he meant.
At first, with God's help, it was not very good. The first launch on a British ship that entered the required quadrant did not come out at all. The rocket ate the installation package, but refused to fly. The engine never started.
Then they began to prepare the second rocket, but the ship had already left, the trajectory of the new flight was calculated unsuccessfully, and the rocket did not reach the target.
The missiles ran out, there were only two of them. I had to wait for another ride.
Then things did not go very well. An enemy ship almost immediately got into the correct quadrant. However, for a reason that remained unclear, the engine of the first rocket did not want to ignite. They began to prepare the second, but in a hurry they miscalculated the trajectory and there was a shortage.
In general, Monday in all its glory. The missiles were delivered only on June 5th. They charged the complex, checked everything that was possible, and began to guard the British.
And they stopped entering the area!
Meanwhile, the launcher was dismantled every morning so that British aerial reconnaissance would not spot the complex, and in the evening it was reassembled!
That's what patience you had to have, isn't it?
The Argentine military went so far as to actually try to lure the British into the launch sector. It turned out, by the way, almost literally. Several people from the northern provinces performed their rituals, where the Guarani and Quechua Indians still cause rain through dancing and sacrifices. So they tried.
And it really helped!
On June 12, at 2:30, the Argentines performed their dances with tambourines, and at 3.15 the radar screamed that there was a goal!
Here's how not to believe in Indian gods ...
The target was the British destroyer Glamorgan with a displacement of 5 tons, sailing about 440 km from the coast, heading towards Port Stanley.
They fired a rocket into the darkness, probably calling everyone to help. And - lo and behold! - It worked! Flash, thunder and white glow - hit!
In general, the British were lucky, otherwise they would be drowned. The watch officer miraculously saw the rocket on the radar screen and managed to turn the ship stern towards it. The Exocet flew into the stern of the destroyer, setting fire to a helicopter in the hangar, killing 13 people and wounding 22. All onboard electronics were disabled. Naturally, the fire started.
But if the Exocet had flown into the center of the hull as planned, then the Glamorgan could have faced the fate of Sheffield.
I must say that two days later, the war ended with the defeat of Argentina. Which was not surprising, to lose to a country, a NATO member, and which is also supported by the United States - this is normal, everything went to that. What could five modern attack aircraft do with five modern missiles?
Nevertheless, the case of Captain Perez did not die out, but, on the contrary, was further developed. And this process started ... the British!
Yes, in the further development of its Excalibur coastal defense system, the British used the experience gained from the Argentines.
And in general, participation in that conflict taught the British a lot. Including the fact that the enemy should not be underestimated.
And our hero Captain Julio Perez retired as Rear Admiral and took up teaching. He died in 2008, leaving behind several textbooks on higher mathematics.
When asked to comment on this story in numerous interviews, Perez always replied, "I was just doing my job."
Admiral Anaya presents Julio Perez with the Effort and Dedication Medal
The case when reason, improvisation and a mountain of unnecessary material, subject to an ardent desire to achieve the goal, can do the impossible.
As it turns out, not only Russians can perform miracles of ingenuity. Although in our history, perhaps, there were more such cases. But about everything in due time.