Concluding day one of the trial, prosecution barrister Brian Altman QC gave the jury what he described as an 'overarching view' of the case against the three men.
He said police had intercepted the men before the before their plan could be carried out.
Counter terrorism officers had carried out a long running surveillance operation between July and September 2011.
Bugs were placed in Ashik Ali's flat at 23 White Street in Sparkhill, which it is claimed was used as a safe house by the three men.
Bugs were also placed in two of the defendants' cars. The jury was told that evidence from these covert recordings would form the basis of the prosecution's case against the three men.
The court heard that in March 2009 Irfan Naseer and Irfan Khalid had travelled from Birmingham to Pakistan, the prosecution claims, for terrorist training.
They stayed in the country for eight months, returning in November 2009.
On Boxing Day in 2010, both men flew again from Birmingham Airport to Pakistan, returning on July 29th 2011.
The prosecution claims covert recordings prove that during the trip, the men had experienced making home made bombs.
The prosecution claims that evidence gathered from surveillance that they intended to put their knowledge into use.
The court heard an alarm clock had been bought, and black out curtains had been bought for Ashik Ali's flat. Irfan Naseer allegedly bought a sports injury cold pack, incorrectly believing it contained ammonium nitrate and could be used to make a bomb.
The men are also accused of discussing various ways of killing people, including the use of explosives, firearms, poisons, and driving a vehicle covered in blades into a crowd of people, a plan allegedly described in the online magazine 'Inspire'.
In police interviews Ashik Ali said the plan was for him to wear a suicide vest and to carry a firearm, but he denied intending to carry out the plan.
The court heard that timescales for the planned bomb attacks ranged from weeks, to months, to two years. But when discussing a car MOT due to expire in June 2012, Irfan Khalid allegedly said "we're dead by then."
The three men deny all of the charges against them, and the trial continues.