The men, ages 19 to 28, appeared before a senior district judge in the City of Westminster Magistrates Court Monday. They were remanded into custody until their next appearance at Central Criminal Court -- London's Old Bailey -- on January 14.
The suspects were ordered them held without bail on charges of conspiracy to cause explosions and other terrorism offenses, West Midlands police said Monday.
"I have reviewed the evidence provided to me by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and I am satisfied there is sufficient for a realistic prospect of conviction, and it is in the public interest that these men should be charged with these offenses," said Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division.
They were arrested in Cardiff in Wales, and London and Stoke-on-Trent in England during raids on December 20. Three others arrested in the raids were released without charges.
The defendants are charged with "unlawfully and maliciously" conspiring to cause an explosion or explosions "likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the United Kingdom," according to a police statement. They are also accused of conducting research, agreeing on potential targets and testing incendiary material.
The suspects were not planning a "Mumbai-style" attack, in which gunmen sprayed bullets at crowded public places in India, and there is no known link to a suicide bombing in Sweden earlier this month, according to a security source, who did not want to be identified.
A senior UK official not authorized to speak on the record said the suspects were more "aspirational" rather than equipped and "ready to go."
The arrests were "necessary" to "ensure public safety," Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner John Yates said last week.
He did not elaborate on a suspected target, but said the men were arrested on suspicion of "preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK."
London saw a large-scale terror attack on July 7, 2005, that left 52 people plus four home-grown suicide bombers dead. A second attempted attack failed two weeks later.
The three defendants from Cardiff are identified as Gurukanth Desai, 28, Omar Sharif Latif, 26, and Abdul Malik Miah, 24, police said.
The two London defendants are Mohammed Moksudur Rahman Chowdhury, 20, and Shah Mohammed Lutfar Rahman, 28.
The defendants from Stoke-on-Trent are Nazam Hussain, 25, Usman Khan, 19, Mohibur Rahman, 26, and Abul Bosher Mohammed Shahjahan, 26.