Prince Harry, who was hastily withdrawn from a tour of Helmand in 2008 after his position was compromised by foreign media reports, has often expressed the desire to return to the front line.
Now he is set to be granted another tour when his squadron is deployed to Afghanistan next year, by which time he should have completed his Apache pilot training.
Clarence House said the Prince would complete his training next year and would then be available for deployment wherever Apaches were needed – including Afghanistan.
It is understood that his squadron is being lined up for a return to Afghanistan next year, most likely in late summer.
Rather than serving as a front line junior officer with the Household Cavalry, as he did on his previous tour, Prince Harry will fly a £40 million AH-64 attack helicopter in operations against insurgents.
The Prince gained his wings earlier this year and he has been told by flying instructors he has a "natural flair" for flying.
He is currently undergoing an eight-month "conversion to role" course to teach him to use the Apache's weapons in battle.
Training a pilot to fly the state-of-the-art helicopters costs £1 million, and only the top one in every 50 pilots is cleared to fly them.
Apaches are two-man helicopters designed to hunt and destroy tanks using their array of weapons, which include rockets and Hellfire missiles. They are worth £35 million each.
But the Prince has frequently expressed his desire to rejoin his comrades in active service.
In a television interview last year he said he had a "real determination" to return to Afghanistan, adding that his "heart was in the Army".
Earlier this year he reiterated his wish while on a charity mission to the North Pole in aid of wounded servicemen.
When asked if he still wanted to return to active service, the Prince said: "I severely hope so, and from the military's point of view I seriously hope so. You know money's been spent towards your training – God knows how much money's been spent on us. So from their point of view if I'm not going then I'm taking up someone else's space."
A source close to the Prince added in April: "Nothing has changed since he expressed those views ... he is fully aware that he is different to his brother but he would still like to do his duty. He is passionate about his military service and unless he publicly comes out and says otherwise, his ambition will remain to serve in Afghanistan."
A Clarence House spokesman said: “It has always been the prince’s intention to serve operationally wherever the MoD request of him.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "We do not comment on the deployment of individual service personnel."