To defend more citizens from rocket attack, Israel emplaced its third Iron Dome battery this week.

The mobile air defense system developed by Israeli defense company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, designed to intercept very short-range rockets and artillery shells from up to 70 kilometers.

The newly deployed battery is to protect the 200,000 citizens living in the city of Ashdod–a population equivalent to the population of Atlanta, Ga., Israeli Defense Forces said in a web posting.

Israel already has two batteries on station to protect Israelis living in Ashkelon and Beersheba–two cities with a combined population of 300,000.

In April, Israel marked the first use of Iron Dome, intercepting an enemy rocket headed toward Ashkelon, which is ten miles from the Gaza Strip, according to the Defense Ministry (Defense Daily, April 8).

Iron Dome was created as a defensive countermeasure to the rocket threat against Israel’s civilian population on its northern and southern borders and was declared operational in the first quarter of 2011.

In August, Raytheon [RTN] and Rafael said they would market a variant of Iron Dome in the United States, integrating it into existing U.S. radar and command and control assets (Defense Daily, Aug, 19).

The United States has provided financial support to Israel for the development of the Iron Dome missile defense system.