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!
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.