relied on good coding and engineering efficinecy to compensate for brute force
No it did not. Same as for weapons it relied on maths. I am going to give a weapon example here (space tech was not that different).
How does West build a AAA system. It has a corporation (Raytheon, BAE, Matra) write the most complex piece of rubbish realtime code known to man to achieve the highest possible probability of hit with the smartest possible _SINGLE_ missile (plenty of examples, Patriot is not the only one). Efficiency is... cough.. cough... sub-95% (that is if Raytheon, BAE, etc is to be believed, actual engagement so far has shown much less).
How did Soviet Union (and Russia still continues) build an AAA system. It has a couple of math PhDs working on Optimal control problems (I know some of them by name by the way) define a _MULTIPLE_ pursuit problem, express it via differential games theory (and more recently differential inclusions), define the system of equations to solve it. The result can be coded with high school level of coding. You hook it up to fire control firing _MULTIPLE_ relatively _DUMB_ missiles, according to the equation solution (it looks very wierd by the way - it fires missiles into open sky way off from the target). Result - Buk (the internal, not the export version). Letality - 99%+
Same for P-700 Granit/Sunburn (the non-export version) vs ships and so on.
By the way, I know there is a method in this madness - the reason Raytheon and Co are doing it is because they will not be able to get the barrel of pork they are getting now if the solution is a small notebook of equations (instead of several men-millenia of realtime code).