Years ago, I worked in the budget shop at the start of the Navy's LHA program that produced the Tarawa class warships that are now being replaced by the 45,000 ton America versions. The LHAs can carry and launch short-take-off aircraft, including the new F-35, as well as helicopters. In most of the world's navies, these large and capable flat-deck ships would be called aircraft carriers, but not in the U.S. Navy, where that term is reserved for [now] even larger, nuclear-powered warships that have catapult launch capability for a wider range of aircraft.
A professor and blogger, Robert Farley, makes an interesting case for greater understanding of and respect for these amphibious assault ships. I know that the supercarriers are very capable for a wide range of missions -- and I hope they are not really vulnerable to the antiship weaponry of China and Iran. But we should avoid underestimating the potential role and value of LHA-type ships by accepting U.S. Navy terminology as if it were gospel.