VKB reveals new TECS throttle details

Details of VKB’s TECS throttle came out in 2018 and was one of my most read articles that same year. After that, VKB said very little about TECS and many wondered if the project was cancelled but that has changed as VKB has now released new details on the product just a few days ago. Let’s have a look!

Modular setup

The key with this product is modularity. We’ve seen a fair bit of that with recent VKB announcements and their hardware/software solution seems to be well suited to swapping and re-configuring. The hat switch on the throttle’s right grip can, for example, be swapped for a 3-way hat, 5-way hat or analogue mini-stick.

Also included on the grip are the following controls broken down by the left and right parts of the grip.

LEFT grip controls:

  • encoder wheel – 1
  • button – 1
  • 3-pos switch – 1
  • Interchangeable button module – 1

RIGHT grip controls:

  • pressable encoder wheel – 1
  • button – 1
  • interchangeable button module – 5
  • Hat/ministick module – 1

The throttle will also be compatible with VKB’s button boxes and other peripherals.

Three different versions

That covers modularity so now let’s talk about versions. TECS is coming in several variants including one significant difference. You can choose between arc and rail style throttles. Arc would be what you see from VIRPIL and Thrustmaster’s high end T-50 and Warthog throttles. Rail is a bit more like Thrustmaster’s TWCS (not T16000M as was written earlier) or using real world examples – the F/A-18, F-16, AV-8B, etc. The aviation world is mixed in the use of these styles so one is not inherently more realistic than the other but VKB does offer the option.

VKB are also touting a new electronic based detent system which enables for a fuller range of travel and configurable detent with different styles – tactile click, hard limit, one-way and two-way.

  • Arc Standard – A basic throttle base with buttons and mechanical detents. Approximate price will be $200 USD.
  • Arc Premium – Electronic detents and some “sweet extras.” Aproximately price will be $350-400 USD.
  • Rail Premium – A electronic detent rail based system with a premium price at $400-450.

VKB has released the following pictures of a development unit. The images are real photos according to the announcement which is different than just having a rendering as we saw in 2018. The announcement points out that the final design is not quite complete yet and that their electronic detent system is still being kept under wraps.

VKB has also made mention that they, like many businesses, have been affected by the COVID-19 health crisis and hinted that their team has suffered a loss or losses as a result. A further reminder of how painful 2020 and early 2021 has been for so many. Expect progress to remain slow as a result, however, it sounds like VKB is on the home stretch now with their high end throttle.

I expect these will be fast sellers. With flight sim hardware stocks running low everywhere as the result of newfound enthusiasm for space, combat and civil aviation sims.

For all of this and more, visit the VKB forums and read the full announcement.

20 Comments Add yours

  1. hypertexthero says:

    Oooh these look nice! I am still rocking my $45 T-Flight HOTAS X but one of the buttons is breaking so I am thinking of going with the VKB Gladiator stick with small built-in throttle, then getting this eventually when it is available.

    Anyone here have the VKB rudder pedals? Do you like them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I don’t have the VKB rudder pedals but I know a few people who think they are great. I used them once at FSExpo2019 and thought they were really good there too – but that was for 10 minutes so not a great feel.

      Only issue I can really see with them is that they don’t have the toe brake axis and that’s something I really want to have. If that’s not essential to you… they may be a great buy.

      Like

    2. WallysWorld says:

      I have the VKB Mk.IV pedals and love them. I’ve had them for about a year and a half and they work wonderfully. I did set the spring in them though to be a bit more tighter as I thought the movement was too loose when I first got them.
      I’m also using their Gladiator Mk.II stick and it’s the best flight stick I’ve ever had. I will be looking at getting this new throttle when the time comes as I’m using a cheap Flashfire Cobra Accelerator throttle which gets the job done for its low price.
      I used to have a T-Flight HOTAS X too, but the Gladiator outperforms that by a large margin.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Thanks for sharing! Great to have some experiences from other readers with this hardware.

        I’d love to cover more but it’s expensive stuff!

        Like

    3. Firdimigdi says:

      I got a set of their latest rudder pedals a couple of months ago.
      Construction-wise they’re really-really solid and ergonomics is where they shine, especially if you use an office chair. They’re super accurate and very easy to configure – both flipping the cam (if you prefer a less pronounced center) and adjusting the spring are really easy to do. The latter was a thing I did, like Wallysworld wrote I too felt that it was way too weak in the default setting, but I took it a step further and added a block of rubber to counter the motion of the swing arm which adds some progressive feel to their resistance, something I find helpful for “calibrating” muscle memory.

      This is a quick shot of what it looks like while the rudders are pressed: https://imgur.com/uEhWE7Z

      Liked by 1 person

  2. harryvoyager says:

    I was reading that wondering, “What the heck is an electronic detent?”

    Ohhh….

    And this just after telling the SO I was done with more game stuff buys…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      This hobby is dangerously pricey 😉

      Like

  3. For the past few years, Ive always seen these Virpil and VKB products and been like ‘meh, not interested’ (after 20 years with modded thrustmaster metal stuff like cougar and now warthog, which makes you become a pro in TARGET/Foxy and that can be hard to move away from), but this work right here….this excites me. Maybe the first truly innovative thinking ive seen in the HOTAS space i can recall! modular swappable buttons, and configurable detents, that is just brilliant.
    I wish/hope they come in steel like TM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      VKB and VIRPIL both have resisted going metal on the outside (inside they definitely have) but VKB has previously announced a metal version of their highest end stick so perhaps that could happen at some point with these as well. Hard to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks fantastic, thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      You’re welcome!

      Like

  5. CanadaOne says:

    Looks delicious. But I’ve never seen that stuff available in Canadaland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      The US store will ship to Canada but with the usual issues of duties and so forth. There is someone apparently opening a Canadian storefront. I reached out but I haven’t heard back yet.

      Like

  6. Blue 5 says:

    I bought the Mongoose T-50 (MK.2 ?) and it is very good. My criticism of the VKB alternative is primarily about its utility for a VR user – the UFC ahead of the throttle is nice (I like the undercarriage lever) but under a headset you cannot see the numpad nor do you likely have the tactile fidelity to know which key is which (especially if you are simultaneously trying to do something else). The Mongoose buttons are sufficiently differentiated and located as to be easily usable with your eyes closed, though whether this is fortuitous or clever design I am not sure.

    Anyway, just my observations. Anyone have a recommendation for a new high-end stick? My G940 is on its last legs…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Both WarBRD and Gunfighter are probably the ways to go. I’ve heard great things about Gunfighter and I love the WarBRD. I will note that it comes with a desktop plate but in practice I found it too stiff to operate it on my desk.

      Like

  7. Blue 5 says:

    Thanks. Am hesitating as the better stuff is pricey.

    “ I found it too stiff to operate it on my desk.”
    Giggity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Ha! 🙂

      Like

      1. Blue 5 says:

        Slightly OT, but is there a way to assign an axis to the DCS comms menu? I have some unused wheels / knobs (giggity) on my Mongoose that can be both pressed and rotated (giggity), but while I can summon the comms menu with a press (giggity) it would be really useful to then cycle through the options which are normally assigned to the F keys. Any suggestions? Alternative is Voice Attack, but it never seemed to work well for me.

        Like

  8. PHANTOM1 says:

    I do have a modded Gladiator stick + must say it is amazingly smooth/foolproof! Great to see VKB finally giving some more details and competing with their throttle too. Might be a bit $$, but worth it considering all the quality perifs now are.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dan the man says:

    Interesting, but a shame they’ve gone for encoders instead of axis. Encoders are not IL-2 friendly (too many axis, too slow movement), and Axis is much more flexible since can be used as both Axis or virtual buttons.

    Like

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