I've read western tanks have an average ROF(not burst) of at least 8 rpm. Detractors of Russian tanks say that any autoloaders that aren't of the type the Leclerc or M8 AGS use are pointless because they don't give a any ROF advantage over manually loaded tanks.
Hahaha... autoloaders that are not the same as the ones we use are all inferior... in the early 1960s when it became clear that the T-62 was going into service with a smoothbore 115mm main gun western "experts" said smoothbore guns were useless and inaccurate and a total waste of time. Now of course all western MBTs have or are going to be upgraded with smoothbore 120mm guns.
There are advantages and disadvantages to every choice in the design of something... smoothbore guns are cheaper and lighter to make, are easier to clean, and create less resistance to the projectile as it travels down the barrel so for the same barrel length and propellent charge and same calibre you get a higher velocity at the muzzle.
More importantly the primary anti armour rounds fired by modern tanks don't like being spun at a high rate to stabilise them... HEAT rounds and APFSDS don't like rifled barrels because like a spear or a dart a long thin rod of APFSDS material can't be spun fast enough to stabilise it properly so fins are used. With HEAT rounds spinning them very rapidly in flight creates a centrifugal force that spreads out the plasma torch they generate on detonation... spreading it reduces its impact and reduces the penetration.
The main rounds that like being spun for stabilisation are HESH which is useless against layered armour structures and standard full bore HE which of course being an area munition doesn't need high precision accuracy anyway.
Once the west realised all these benefits the moderate reduction in very long range accuracy was accepted and with new barrel construction technology and of course a good ballistics computer its accuracy is good enough, yet it retains advantages in other areas.
When NATO moves to 140mm ammo then it will be amusing because ammo that size will either be a very heavy and long one piece or two still quite heavy pieces... which likely means autoloader for NATO... of course by then autoloaders will be safe and reliable and fast...
I've read on many western military forums that say that the T-72Bs autoloader's minimal ROF is 4 rpm while the earlier and export models offer 3 rpm. Is this statistic only valid if the autoloader isn't maintained properly?
The minimum rate of fire is if the ammo is located at opposite ends of the autoloader... the same problem could occur in a western tank if the ammo required is located next to the driver in a hull position...
Autoloaders do not fatigue, do not fumble, and do not make mistakes.
Nor can they get drunk or sprain a wrist. Of course they also can't man a machine gun, and they certainly can't take a share of guard duty, but the structure of the Soviet Divisions allow for a mechanic to be part of the crew for guard duty and to help with maintainence/loading etc.
The west didn't have them when the T-64 entered service and because the T-64 was the secret high tech tank it was easy to speculate as to why it wasn't exported... remember the Soviets didn't have anything that was high tech that was not copied from western designs so the T-64 not exported means it was rubbish, so clearly the autoloader ate arms for breakfast... which is odd because all the tank crew at exercises and parades seemed to have both arms... the T-64 was rapidly followed into service by the T-72 so again this was taken as evidence that the T-64 was rubbish. Again wrong.