A "notoriously bad" combat radio system may have missed a vital message and cost two SAS soldiers their lives in a helicopter crash, an inquest heard.

Special forces pilot Soldier J said the message would have warned him what the other helicopter involved in the mission was doing as it landed to intercept a target vehicle near Baghdad in November 2007.

Instead, said Soldier J, evidence of intent was lost amid an "incredible information overload" as he tried to put his Puma helicopter and its combat team down to support the intercept.

In evidence to the inquest at Hereford Town Hall, Soldier J said he believed he never received a critical radio message highlighting the intent of the lead helicopter to engage the target vehicle.

As a result, he said, he was denied any ability to see the situation unfold and react accordingly.

The radio system being used by the special forces team at the time was "notoriously bad and unreliable" said Soldier J who told the inquest he believed that complaints about the system had been passed up the chain of command.

But, he said, to the best of his knowledge, the system was still being used.

The inquest heard harrowing details of how the second Puma crashed seconds after aborting a landing in a rutted field as the crew effectively flew blind through a dust cloud fearing a third helicopter - that they also had no communication with - could be above them.

The crash and subsequent explosion killed SAS Sgt John Battersby and Tpr Lee Fitzsimmons. Other SAS soldiers - some seriously injured themselves - had to be ordered away from from a frantic rescue effort seconds before the burning Puma blew up.

Evidence outlined how, soon after the crash, it was confirmed that the wrong target vehicle had been stopped.

The inquest continues. More in this week's Hereford Times.