2

Let's imagine an engineer saying:

With the unit's design in mind, we developed a detailed rigging procedure that employed both fixed and buoyant rigging elements to distribute the load.

would this sentence be equal in meaning to

With the unit's design in mind, we developed a detailed rigging procedure that employs both fixed and buoyant rigging elements to distribute the load.

and which would be preferable, if they're not fully equivalent?

2

First consider the procedure. Assume it has not changed. At the time it was developed it employed both types and currently it employs both types.

If this is the case, then there is no semantic difference. I would prefer using past tense because the procedure was developed in the past and the use of both types is not the result of a recent change.

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4

The "procedure" was developed in the past (since you used past tense here), so it would depend on whether the "procedure" is still being followed/used.

If so, I would use employs. If not, employed.

But I think this is a minor difference at best.

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