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PYONGTAEK, South Korea — High-level South Korean defense officials are to visit the U.S. Army helicopter base at Camp Humphreys Thursday for a close-up look at the battle capabilities of the Army’s most modern attack helicopter, the AH-64D Apache Longbow.

Officials at the 6th Cavalry Brigade said they hope Thursday’s visit will reassure the Koreans that the Longbow’s high-tech capabilities help offset the departures this year of some U.S. combat forces.

Ahn Kwang-chan, South Korea’s deputy minister for policy with the Ministry of National Defense, is scheduled to visit the 6th Cavalry Brigade at Camp Humphreys and fly in a Longbow during a mock combat mission.

Three high-level South Korean military officers also will take part in the visit.

“Basically it’s just to demonstrate the enhanced capabilities of the Longbow Apache versus the A-model Apache,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jeff Johnson, brigade master gunner with the 6th Cavalry Brigade.

In February, the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Brigade departed South Korea for the United States to convert the A-model Apaches into Longbows.

“The unit has left the peninsula for their upgrade program,” said Maj. Kathleen Johnson, an 8th U.S. Army spokeswoman in Seoul.

Some 3,600 troops of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team left South Korea in August and currently are in Iraq.

“They need an accurate picture of the transition that is going on, on the peninsula right now, what the difference in capability means,” Maj. William Coker, a 6th Cavalry Brigade spokesman, said of the visiting officials. “What is an Alpha compared to a Delta? What are our capabilities comparatively speaking?”

The Longbow’s digital cockpit and other high-tech electronics gear enable it to sense the presence of enemy ground targets, pinpoint their locations, gauge what types of targets they are and then compute the best method for attacking them.

It also is able to transmit information instantly to other Longbows over a digital computer network. That avoids delays and possible mix-ups from trying to pass that information by voice radio, Johnson said.

“It just comes up on my helicopter, not a lot of human error … just straight digital information,” Johnson said.

The four Korean officials will stop first at the brigade’s headquarters building for a formal briefing on the unit’s mission. They’ll next go to the flight line and visit the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Brigade. There, they’ll be given a flight helmet and related gear, view a parked Longbow, then climb into a flight simulator.

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